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Airstrikes have begun in Afghanistan.
October 7, 2001 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Airstrikes have begun in Afghanistan. Just heard on NBC, but no web links yet... President to address the US at 12.50p EST.
posted by warhol (261 comments total)

 
not during football!

explosions in kabul, capitol without power (foxnews TV)
posted by Mick at 9:43 AM on October 7, 2001


Looks like they're taking out supply lines to major cities. Norther Alliance has taken 11 villages already.
posted by geoff. at 9:44 AM on October 7, 2001


pentagon confirms bombings
posted by Mick at 9:45 AM on October 7, 2001


and so it begins...
posted by lescour at 9:45 AM on October 7, 2001


MSNBC story.
posted by owillis at 9:48 AM on October 7, 2001


First links on the web:

From the BBC: Loud explosions have been heard over the Afghan capital Kabul and electricity supplies have been cut.

From MSNBC: U.S. sources told NBC News the United States has begun long-range bombing in Afghanistan. Five large explosions were heard over Kabul. Details to come.

From ABC News: There are reports now of explosions around the Afghan capital of Kabul. Earlier, President Bush said that "time is running out" for Afghanistan's ruling Taliban to turn over Osama bin Laden. The Taliban says it has sent thousands of troops to the Uzbekistan border. (annoying popup on ABC's website)
posted by warhol at 9:48 AM on October 7, 2001


BBC One have just started blanket coverage -- the reporters look like they've got butterflies in their stomahs. I know how they feel. I'm back in a classroom at school in 1991 listening to Radio 4's coverage of Operation Desert Storm. I only understood little bits of why that happened then. I've a better idea now. This feels bigger, much bigger. Take care everone...
posted by feelinglistless at 9:53 AM on October 7, 2001


I'm stuck at work. Anybody have a link to a video stream?
posted by Optamystic at 9:56 AM on October 7, 2001


ABC: This is going to be a multiple hour bombing run against Taliban air offensives. Major offensive strike to clear the way for humanitarian aid. Could last until dawn.
posted by owillis at 9:58 AM on October 7, 2001


Here's a link to the 'robots' (no ads, fewer hits) version of the CNN site, in case anyone wants to keep hitting it ...
posted by Owen Boswarva at 9:58 AM on October 7, 2001


The BBC's twenty-four news channel can be watched here. [realmediaplayer needed]
posted by feelinglistless at 9:58 AM on October 7, 2001


thanks, feelinglistless
posted by Optamystic at 9:59 AM on October 7, 2001


President Bush is making a speech: "Attack on Taliban military capability" Lists the other forces involved -- England, Canada etc.
posted by feelinglistless at 10:01 AM on October 7, 2001


President: joint op with England, demands have not been met from Taliban, "Taliban will pay a price", will be the first part of a sustained, comprehensive attack to drive out the Taliban, aid will be provided for people of Afghanistan.
posted by owillis at 10:02 AM on October 7, 2001


Quicktime has a BBC World video channel (click the "tv" button). Bush is on right now. Sigh.
posted by fraying at 10:04 AM on October 7, 2001


My cable is out. I'm looking for video feeds as well. Why is it so hard to find a rebroadcast online?

Here's what I have found so far:
MSNBC Live Video directory
posted by hitsman at 10:05 AM on October 7, 2001


Bush: "This is not a war against Islam , but those who would use Islam as a reason for destruction."

The name of the operation is "Enduring Freedom" -- huh?
posted by feelinglistless at 10:05 AM on October 7, 2001


is there any blog or anything writing about this FROM afganistan? oh, i guess the taliban have outlawed the net. duh.

but any ongoing non-western english-language coverage?
posted by jill at 10:05 AM on October 7, 2001


Speech feels similar to a similar presidential speech made about the time of the Vietnam war -- paraphrasing "we would send our young men in uniform in without good reason"
posted by feelinglistless at 10:06 AM on October 7, 2001


how come it's ok for americans to give their lives ("the greatest sacrifice", bush just said, talking about a four grader who said "i'll give you my dad's life") while barbaric cowardly terrorists are insane to commit "suicide attacks?
posted by jill at 10:07 AM on October 7, 2001


Bush: "We are the friends of the people of Afghanistan."
posted by feelinglistless at 10:08 AM on October 7, 2001


Did anyone else see the cool trick-kites flying outside the window behind Bush? Those were pretty nifty...
posted by whatnotever at 10:08 AM on October 7, 2001


jill: because u.s. soldiers are fighting against a military, while the terrorists attacked 6,000 innocent people
posted by owillis at 10:10 AM on October 7, 2001


how come it's ok for americans to give their lives ... while barbaric cowardly terrorists are insane to commit "suicide attacks?"

Huh? Obvious I would have thought. One defends freedom, the other takes it away...
posted by feelinglistless at 10:13 AM on October 7, 2001


NATO to Deploy AWACS Aircraft in U.S. I just saw a blurb about this scroll by in the ticker at the bottom of NBC's coverage and it looks like Reuters is reporting it too. Will we ever get an explanation of this now that strikes have started?
posted by genapathy at 10:13 AM on October 7, 2001


whatnotever, yes, they were distracting in their "American Beauty floating plastic bag-esque" hypnotic nature.
posted by machaus at 10:13 AM on October 7, 2001


If we're fighting guerilla terrorist groups who live in the mountains of Afghanistan, why was our first attack against Kabul's electrical grid and supply routes? Honestly.. Sounds like we've already stopped giving a fuck about innocent civilians.
posted by Hildago at 10:14 AM on October 7, 2001


BBC News in Arabic.
posted by feelinglistless at 10:14 AM on October 7, 2001


anyone else think it's weird that we're starting strikes on a sunday?
posted by rabi at 10:18 AM on October 7, 2001


I was wondering that myself, genapathy.
posted by Optamystic at 10:19 AM on October 7, 2001


Everybody getting all excited by the action. Beat football. Note: in Gulf War, military and govt seemed to have "used" CNN; here, we are left in the dark pretty much as to what is going on.
posted by Postroad at 10:20 AM on October 7, 2001


BBC News 24 reports that Jalalabad is also under attack.
posted by Owen Boswarva at 10:20 AM on October 7, 2001


anyone else think it's weird that we're starting strikes on a sunday?

I thought it was odd that we started right at "kickoff" time for Sunday's football games...
posted by owillis at 10:21 AM on October 7, 2001


CNN: via Pentagon - started with cruise missiles from US & British ships
posted by owillis at 10:23 AM on October 7, 2001


How are we fighting to defend freedom? What kind of rhetoric crap are people believing? Is there a chance that the terrorists are going to somehow take over America and make us all wear beards? If we're going to believe that, why not say we're fighting to defend babies? Little tiny babies. We're also fighting to defend that cute kitten that shows up on MeFi occasionally. Come on.
posted by Doug at 10:24 AM on October 7, 2001


Doug, we are going to eliminate the people that want to eliminate us, before they can eliminate any more of us.
posted by jbelshaw at 10:26 AM on October 7, 2001


Doug: No, but we are fighting to erase some evil fucks from the planet. But I don't think the president can say "evil fucks" on tv. At least not before 9pm.
posted by owillis at 10:27 AM on October 7, 2001


It just occurred to me why NATO is deploying the AWACS planes over the U.S., when we have a fleet of perfectly good ones right here.

NATO is an international organization. They are not bound by The Fourth Amendment. They don't need a warrant to listen to you. And, according to the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Bill that is expected to pass next week, evidence collected by foreign powers is specifically admissible, despite the lack of Constitutional constraints on the collection of that evidence.

Welcome to the party, kids.
posted by Optamystic at 10:29 AM on October 7, 2001


how come it's ok for americans to give their lives ("the greatest sacrifice", bush just said, talking about a four grader who said "i'll give you my dad's life") while barbaric cowardly terrorists are insane to commit "suicide attacks?

One nation's hero is another nation's terrorist. Things like this are a matter of a country's perspective and its worldview. From the American perspective, we have been unjustly attacked. From the perspective of the men who sacrificed their lives to bring down the WTC, they have climbed up the beanstalk and made an attack on the giant.
posted by crog at 10:30 AM on October 7, 2001


As a bonus, we just had a small earthquake here in downtown L.A.

This is not helping my nerves.
posted by Optamystic at 10:31 AM on October 7, 2001


As a bonus, we just had a small earthquake here in downtown L.A.
Was that what that was? Jesus. I'm not used to them yet, and now I know why my dog went nutsy.
posted by owillis at 10:32 AM on October 7, 2001


Re: starting attack Sunday. Isn't it early Monday morning in Afghanistan?
posted by arielmeadow at 10:36 AM on October 7, 2001


arielmeadow: It's a little after 10 PM Sunday in Kabul.
posted by Owen Boswarva at 10:40 AM on October 7, 2001


It's actually just after 10 PM Sunday in Kabul. (from TimeandDate.com)
posted by arco at 10:40 AM on October 7, 2001


Ah. I stand corrected. I thought it was just after midnight.
posted by arielmeadow at 10:40 AM on October 7, 2001


dammit, owen! at least I had a link! :-)
posted by arco at 10:41 AM on October 7, 2001


Owillis...2.9 on the richter. Based in Silverlake.
posted by Optamystic at 10:42 AM on October 7, 2001


Optamystic: Yeah, I just got the USGS data on it.
posted by owillis at 10:47 AM on October 7, 2001


arco: If it's any consolation, I got the info from exactly the same place.
posted by Owen Boswarva at 10:47 AM on October 7, 2001


Optamystic, this is making me sick. I knew something was up but was to distracted to put it all together yet, it is still early and I was distracted, but that was the plan no doubt. Time to send off one more email to my Representatives to put a stop to that Bill. Unlikely, but it is the least I can do. Hold on tight!
posted by genapathy at 10:48 AM on October 7, 2001


some odd but interesting posts early in the "game." why on Sunday? why not? It is a Christian dayof rest (sabbath) not a Muslim or Jewish... you want a faith-based attqack? Why not the hills instead of City? Cause that's wehre; the info, the electrical grid, the radar the command posts are... they may onnect to the moutain hideouts but they are much easier to choke off where they are than where they go to. Innocents may die? Sure.And so too the 6 thousand in WTC. our century makes no distinctions any longer because of new methods of war--no trenches for military, as in WWI or WWII but V-@ rockets sent at London,West Bank in mideast, WTC, Hiroshima....all now seen as fair game, like it or not.
posted by Postroad at 10:48 AM on October 7, 2001


BBC is showing pictures of the bombardment, fed from an Arabic station (possibly Al Jazeera). It's always pretty from a distance.
posted by Owen Boswarva at 10:53 AM on October 7, 2001


If the f*ck*g idiot brings back the draft, I will personally drive to DC and slap him upside his STUPID head.

So much for intelligence and knowledge. RAMBO RULES! YAY!
posted by mirla at 10:54 AM on October 7, 2001


So much for intelligence and knowledge. RAMBO RULES! YAY!

Yes, much better to twiddle our thumbs and wring our hands as they kill us all.
posted by owillis at 10:56 AM on October 7, 2001


i know some news links have already been posted, but you can find a list of live news feeds here @ real.com.
posted by sarajflemming at 10:56 AM on October 7, 2001


Like fireworks, eh? I doubt most people in Kabul would mind no electricity - they only get it for a few hours a day at nights anyway.. And there's not much of Afghan infrastructure to knock out..

Lets hope the Northern Alliance don't do too many nasty things to the women and children of those villages they capture..

There'll be no draft - you've got a 1million soldier army for heaven's sake..
posted by Mossy at 10:58 AM on October 7, 2001


I can't believe a 2.9 earthquake actually got reported. There've already been three 3.0+ earthquakes in California this October, I didn't hear anything about those (I never remember feeling anything below a 4 growing up out there). Isn't a 2.9 gentler than a large truck driving by?

No one to blame for this one... (There is probably an "Allah is mad" joke or something, but I'm not going to make it. Unless that counted.)
posted by joemaller at 11:00 AM on October 7, 2001


There'll be no draft - you've got a 1million soldier army for heaven's sake.

Actually, more than that; add in the Guard & Reserve, the CIA and other federal & state people, and all of the people rushing to their local recruiting office, and you don't have to worry about being drafted, Mirla. We'll take care of this before your number would have come up, anyway. :-)
posted by davidmsc at 11:03 AM on October 7, 2001


we are fighting to erase some evil fucks from the planet. But I don't think the president can say "evil fucks" on tv. At least not before 9pm.

a damn shame, too! joe sixpack often tends to shy away from 'tiny little babies with cute kittens' imagery. but joe sixpack understands 'evil fucks' at a seminal level.

imagine dubya looking directly into the cameras and saying 'today, we are bombing some evil fucks off the face of the planet'. aaaaaaw yeaaaah.
posted by quonsar at 11:05 AM on October 7, 2001


Isn't a 2.9 gentler than a large truck driving by?

Not when you're sitting in a 53 story building that is sunk into the bedrock about 2 miles from the epicenter.
posted by Optamystic at 11:15 AM on October 7, 2001


is anyone else catching this "official statement" by someone who's being said to be a member of the taliban?

apparently that the events of 11 September are considered a normal thing to do as a result of their foreign policies. if the u.s. continues it's current policies, retaliation will be accordingly exacted.

it goes on. (watching abc news)
posted by sarajflemming at 11:16 AM on October 7, 2001


imagine dubya looking directly into the cameras and saying 'today, we are bombing some evil fucks off the face of the planet'.

well, it's much easier to pronounce those four letter words...
posted by phoenix enflamed at 11:18 AM on October 7, 2001


I wonder if the kites in the background were a deliberate poke in the Taliban's eye? Nah, seems too sophisticated. But along with everything else it banned, the Taliban banned *kites*...I wondered "Why on earth ban kites?," until I found this about Afghani fighter kites. Of course! because they have women's faces on them!
posted by realjanetkagan at 11:18 AM on October 7, 2001


they've updated the report, the statement was from the al qaeda, not the taliban. and they've got wider pictures from the location that the spokesman was speaking from, directly next to him: bin laden.
posted by sarajflemming at 11:22 AM on October 7, 2001


Bin Laden appearing on TV, Al-Jazeera (via CNN). Would be nice to see him just explode right about now.
posted by owillis at 11:26 AM on October 7, 2001


Bin Laden appearing on TV, Al-Jazeera (via CNN). Would be nice to see him just explode right about now: "America is filled with fear". Think he's about to know fear...
posted by owillis at 11:26 AM on October 7, 2001


they mentioned that these are taped statements from several days ago, they're not (obviously, because it's daylight in the video) live.
posted by sarajflemming at 11:28 AM on October 7, 2001


"how come it's ok for americans to give their lives ("the greatest sacrifice", bush just said, talking about a four grader who said "i'll give you my dad's life") while barbaric cowardly terrorists are insane to commit "suicide attacks?"

I can't beleive such a question even enters anyone's mind. The suggestion that terrorists giving their lives to commit mass murder is on par with American soldiers giving their lives to remove the likes of those terrorists from our planet is a disgusting thought.
posted by tomorama at 11:36 AM on October 7, 2001


well, you know, tomorama, it's a question of perspective. and not all that hard to understand. and until we understand that perspective, and are willing to take responsibility for our own actions, not giving ourselves a free pass every time we feel that it's expedient for us to bomb someone, we'll never be any safer....
posted by rebeccablood at 11:46 AM on October 7, 2001


Optamystic, AWACS is not a spy plane. It doesn't pick up telecommunications. It's a radar platform and contains a command center for controlling warplanes. (Please turn the paranoia down about two notches.)

I think that the reason that NATO AWACS are coming to the US is first, for political reasons, and second, to free up US AWACS so they can be deployed to the battle zone.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:49 AM on October 7, 2001


I think people should remain calm. This is just the beginning -- the first day in fact -- of what looks like a lenghtly process. Something like this was completely predictable considering the atrocity we suffered. It would be unimaginable for a government that in any way calls itself representative to have reacted in any other way. It's important though to point out that contrary to the atrocity inflicted on ourselves, civilians in Afghanistan are not the target of the current military action.

Important in my thoughts at the moment are our military people. For what it's worth, the message around here (Loisaida, NYC) is: Godspeed and Thank You.
posted by leo at 11:51 AM on October 7, 2001


Mass murder of 6,000 innocent office workers and emergency persons is not a question of perspective.
posted by tomorama at 11:53 AM on October 7, 2001


This feels bigger, much bigger.

Feels much smaller to me, thus far. All in all, there's not that much happening, comparatively speaking.

It's so nice of Mr. Bin Laden to finally come out and admit his guilt for 9.11. Does this mean everyone can stop whining about "where's the prooooof?" now?
posted by aaron at 11:54 AM on October 7, 2001



leo: I think this kind of response is to be expected from *any* government, representative or not.

to be honest, though our servicemen and women are in my thoughts, too, even moreso are the innocents in afghanistan, caught in the crossfire between their repressive government and our military. they never signed up for anything like this, and lord knows they've already lived thorough enough horror in their lifetimes. God bless them and comfort them and give them strength to endure what I hope will be a short assault.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:56 AM on October 7, 2001


Mass murder of 6,000 innocent office workers and emergency persons is not a question of perspective.

when the only things that matter are those that happen on US soil, I guess it wouldn't be.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:57 AM on October 7, 2001


tomorama: both die for ideas. there is no REAL (as in the physical universe) difference, and ANY differences are an abstraction based on the interpretation of the 'goodness' or 'badness' of the idea being died for.

um. what did i just say?
posted by quonsar at 12:00 PM on October 7, 2001


Mass murder of 6,000 innocent office workers and emergency persons is not a question of perspective.

tomorama - see my previous post. oh, and EVERYTHING (as in every thing) is a matter of perspective.
posted by quonsar at 12:02 PM on October 7, 2001


Bin Laden also said that we can expect future attacks as long as there is Palestinian oppression, sanctions and strikes against Iraq, and troops in Saudi Arabia.

He's pretty clear on the terms of Al-Qaeda, as well as his responsibility for the attacks....

PS: anyone else watching Rumsfeld get all flustered on CNN?
posted by readymade at 12:05 PM on October 7, 2001


anyone else watching Rumsfeld get all flustered on CNN?

yeah. what part of 'we do not discuss operations in progress' are the reporters not getting?
posted by quonsar at 12:07 PM on October 7, 2001


well, you know, tomorama, it's a question of perspective. and not all that hard to understand. and until we understand that perspective, and are willing to take responsibility for our own actions

The Sunday Times has depicted an interesting parallel between an 11th century Ismaili sect known as the Assassins and the Al-Qaeda:

"There are remarkable parallels between this sect, which flourished in the 11th century in northwest Iran, and the messianic vision shared by Al-Qaeda's adherents: in particular the idea of following a messianic leader and the concept of entry into paradise through a martyr's death. There are other similarities in their methodology. According to scripts of the time, the Asssassins described themselves not as murderers, but as executioners.

"'We must act in public as an example,' they wrote. 'By killing one man we terrorise 100,000. However, it is not enough to die, for if, by killing, we discourage our enemies from undertaking any action against us, by dying in the most courageous fashion, we force the masses to admire us and from their midst men will come to join us. Dying is more important than killing. We kill to defend ourselves, but we die to convert and conquer.'"


Then there is the opinion and thought that Osama Bin Laden may still be in Afghanistan as he may wish to die as a martyr for the cause and for the holy jihad...
posted by crog at 12:07 PM on October 7, 2001


when the only things that matter are those that happen on US soil, I guess it wouldn't be.

I must be confused. Which mass murder of 6,500 civilians in the Islamic world have we been ignoring? (No, war doesn't count.)
posted by aaron at 12:08 PM on October 7, 2001



rb: The fact that it happened on US soil, was primarily directed at Americans, and killed far more Americans than any other such action in generations -- sorry, there's just not too much non-US "perspective" I care to bother with.

quonsar: The difference/s are based on the "abstractions" of freedom, individual rights, democracy, etc. Pretty important abstractions, I'd say, and dammit, YES, those things are good and worth defending. No moral equivocation.
posted by davidmsc at 12:09 PM on October 7, 2001


Additional note: Within Islam itself suicide is sinful.
posted by crog at 12:10 PM on October 7, 2001


Critical mass-media intake alert:

yeah. what part of 'we do not discuss operations in progress' are the reporters not getting?

Pay attention to the questions that reporters repeatedly ask especially when it's clear that the respondent doesn't want to answer. Sometimes they're just being a pain in the ass but you can bet that these reporters are working off of all sorts of tips and information -- there's usually something critical there.
posted by amanda at 12:11 PM on October 7, 2001


The difference/s are based on the "abstractions" of freedom, individual rights, democracy, etc. Pretty important abstractions, I'd say, and dammit, YES, those things are good and worth defending. No moral equivocation.

i've no quarrel with that. i was amused at the shallowness of tomorama's 'how could anybody even think the thought!' and switched into 'auto reductio ad absurdum' mode.
posted by quonsar at 12:13 PM on October 7, 2001


Lets hope the Northern Alliance don't do too many nasty things to the women and children of those villages they capture..

Is there any reason to believe the NA isn't the next Taliban or a slightly behaved post-war Taliban? I've seen Mashood's last interview with the west and he admits to having little control over the warlords consist of the NA.
posted by skallas at 12:15 PM on October 7, 2001


Optamystic, AWACS is not a spy plane. It doesn't pick up telecommunications. It's a radar platform and contains a command center for controlling warplanes.

Point taken, Steven. But could the planes not be used for just such a purpose? With all this talk of "expanded surveillance powers", I can't help but be a little nervous.
posted by Optamystic at 12:18 PM on October 7, 2001


I must be confused. Which mass murder of 6,500 civilians in the Islamic world have we been ignoring?

aaron, hang it up. if only 3 americans had been killed in the attacks would you now be counseling peace?

innocent american lives are not more important than innocent arabic lives. the death of one innocent person of any nationality is a travesty that cannot be made right by the death of any number of innocent lives on the other side.

(No, war doesn't count.)

yes, war does count if it's your oved ones. I doubt if anyone, burying their child or husband or mother as a result of a US bombing in any circumstance has philosophically shrugged, "well, they *did* declare war. it's to be expected, and it really didn't matter much, anyway."

further, I think that al Qaeda believes it *has* declared war on us, so, if your standard is that allacts are justified if one side says it's war, then they're gold.

to discount the lives of those on the other side as unimportant because our actions are in retaliation for the actions of someone who lives in their region is to think exactly like the terrorists.

and, by God, I will not discount the worth of any innocent life, no matter what their nationality or what the circumstances of that death. whether it is accidental or deliberate it is an incalculable loss, and will be experienced as such by those whose loss it is; and should be felt as that even by those such as you.

and by discounting such losses as unimportant, and by not striving with all our might to avoid such losses, we are only helping to create the circumstances that spawn the people you claim are so evil and so different from you.

we are not as safe as we would be if we were more cognizant and more careful of these people.
posted by rebeccablood at 12:24 PM on October 7, 2001


Agreed skallas. This country is very short sighted. We financed Iraq. Look what happened. We financed the Taliban. Look what happened.

As long as they're Muslims, they have the same general ideological and political views the extremists have, even though they may disagree/fight over various points. In other words, the great majority of Muslims are Osama sympathizers, and they don't like Israel or the US.

Bah who knows, Uzbekh may be the next enemy we finance, build, and are attacked by... gah this is getting repetitive, no?
posted by Aikido at 12:25 PM on October 7, 2001


"and ANY differences are an abstraction based on the interpretation of the 'goodness' or 'badness' of the idea being died for".

The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and ended the lives of 2,390 sleeping naval officers because the United States stood in it's way of controlling the world.

The Nazis murdered thousands off innocent Jews because the Jews stood in Hitler's way of creating the perfect, blonde haired/blue eyed race that should dominate the world.

Terrorists, many of which are and have direct involvement with Al-Queda and the Taleban, kill innocent people and oppress their own people. Their goal is to eradicate anyone not of the fundamentalist muslim persuation or under said persuasion's iron grip from the Middle Eastern penninsula. Their chosen method of enforcement is urging their people to kill anyone who they don't think belongs there, without regard. You think assessment of the motives and methods of ANYONE who is willing to die for that cause is a matter of perspective? That's great, I don't. I'm glad those people are dead, I'm just upset that they took too many good people with them. They don't belong on our Earth.

Ah well. I guess we should leave the Taleban and Al-Queda alone, cause y'know, it's all a matter of perspective. We should have left those Nazis and Japanese alone too, because of course their motives were only evil from "our point of view."
posted by tomorama at 12:28 PM on October 7, 2001


From Sky Tv subtitles: Bin Laden says America is in the grip of fear, "North to South, East to West" and that the jihad will continue until Palestine is free. So I guess that means he´s alive and feeling really important. Rats...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:30 PM on October 7, 2001


Fisk on the Northern Alliance and our other 'allies'. Sorry, but these are the only articles I've seen about it..

I would like to say that the Taleban/bin Laden are more Wahhabi's than muslims, here's part of my comment from another post today:

Wahabbism actually stems from the Khariji position, which started at the time of the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) with a man called Dhu'l-Khuwaisira al-Tamimi who accused the prophet of insufficient piety. The early Kharijis evn killed women and children, as well as declaring all Muslims outside their ranks as unbelievers. From then on, the Kharijis, who are described in hadith as men of 'obscured eyes', have represented the lunatic fringe of Islam, consistently rejected by Sunnis and other muslims - it borrows some Islamic forms but in essence is another religion entirely, as disparate as Baha'ism and Qadianism.

But will we call the terrorist Khariji terrorists/fundamentalists/extremists? That is what they are, but in the popular Western psyche, these people are equivalent to the other billion muslims in the world.


Its all about words and opinion..
posted by Mossy at 12:32 PM on October 7, 2001


"As long as they're Muslims, they have the same general ideological and political views the extremists have, even though they may disagree/fight over various points. In other words, the great majority of Muslims are Osama sympathizers, and they don't like Israel or the US."

Yeah right. And all Americans are sympathizers of Falwell.
Sigh
posted by ginz at 12:33 PM on October 7, 2001


Miguel, that quotation from bin Laden was recorded before today's attacks.
posted by arielmeadow at 12:33 PM on October 7, 2001


If true this must make us rethink the "nothing to do with Israel" argument that so many in the administration and the media have been peddling.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:33 PM on October 7, 2001


As long as they're Muslims, they have the same general ideological and political views the extremists have, even though they may disagree/fight over various points. In other words, the great majority of Muslims are Osama sympathizers, and they don't like Israel or the US.

and people wonder why there are people firebombing mosques. because people really think this way.

i'm jewish. does that mean i killed jesus? (and yes, i know it was really the romans. i'm making a point.)
posted by amandaudoff at 12:35 PM on October 7, 2001


tomorama, you're forgetting the very motives the Nazis and Muslims had/have. Nazi Germany was in financial ruins from WWI reparations to the allies. People lost their land, jobs, money etc. Heck, you could very well compare the 10 year sanctions in Iraq to the 10 years + reparations in Germany.

Through they're perspective, Muslims, Nazis, Communists etc did not represent evil. Where there's smoke, there's fire- to think one side is completely right or completely wrong is absurd. You really know how to spin things tomo.
posted by Aikido at 12:35 PM on October 7, 2001


Feels much smaller to me, thus far. All in all, there's not that much happening, comparatively speaking.

I meant that this could have greater implication on a world wide scale. I just heard a BBC correspondant say that the 'Arab Alliance' was days from collapse when Desert Storm ended. We are seeing here the conditions for a World War in which all of the old grudges between countries might be brought out into the open. Currently trying to remember if I spilt anyone's beer in a bar anywhere in case they come looking for me ...
posted by feelinglistless at 12:35 PM on October 7, 2001


Does anyone know where I can find a translation of BinLadin's speech... The translation on CBS was spotty at best...
posted by TNLNYC at 12:37 PM on October 7, 2001


lord knows they've already lived thorough enough horror in their lifetimes.

The removal of the Taliban regime is probably the best recipe for bringing this horror to an end. Their ascendancy had been an absolute calamity. Their removal then would be a positive outcome though, of course, the immediate purpose of this action is to destroy the enemies who bomb our cities and kill our people.
posted by leo at 12:37 PM on October 7, 2001


and by discounting such losses as unimportant

Oh, blow it, rebecca. They're not "unimportant," and I never said they were. However, the reality is, and shall continue to be, that while we go out of our way to try to minimize (and completely eliminate, where possible) any civilian casualities, and are combining these military moves with major humanitarian actions, they are killing civilians for no other reason than to kill civilians and sow terror and fear. We are right, they are wrong, end of story.

Your moral relativism is becoming truly frightening, and sickening.
posted by aaron at 12:38 PM on October 7, 2001



tone it down, aaron. No reason to get nasty.
posted by Optamystic at 12:40 PM on October 7, 2001


anyone else think it's weird that we're starting strikes on a sunday?

I personally like my strikes to start on Thursday. That way I can take a sick day on Friday and make it a rockin' four-day weekend!

Seriously, do you think there's som Christian dogma in the attack?

More likely weather.
posted by RoyalJack at 12:40 PM on October 7, 2001


So Nazis did not represent evil, aikido...
Thanks for pointing it out.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 12:41 PM on October 7, 2001


I consider "hang it up" to be dismissive and nasty. Don't play referree if you're only going to watch one side of the field.
posted by aaron at 12:41 PM on October 7, 2001


quonsar: EVERYTHING (as in every thing) is a matter of perspective.

In my experience, people who say this seem to think it's a universal truth. Which seems a little inconsistent.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:43 PM on October 7, 2001


I think Mossy meant "the wilder reaches of Wahhabism as preached by the fierce zealots of the Najd especially the Saudi Ikhwan faction" (or something) and not Wahabbism in general.
posted by Saima at 12:43 PM on October 7, 2001


Don't play referree if you're only going to watch one side of the field.

and that just described the whole argument, both about mefi etiquette and bombing. interesting how everything can get bolied down to something so simple.
posted by amandaudoff at 12:44 PM on October 7, 2001


Your moral relativism is becoming truly frightening, and sickening.

I am saying that killing a civilian is always wrong, always a travesty. it is morally relativistic to say that killing a civilian is wrong unless the killing happens in a war, or unless it is in retaliation, or unless it is unavoidable, or unless your side is "right".

you and I should take this elsewhere if you feel the need to continue; it's hijacking the thread.
posted by rebeccablood at 12:46 PM on October 7, 2001


to discount the lives of those on the other side as unimportant because our actions are in retaliation for the actions of someone who lives in their region is to think exactly like the terrorists.

Rebecca, who is discounting lives? It's taken about a month after the attacks for this retaliation to stop. Hundreds/thousands of Afghans have been flooding out of Aghanistan on a daily basis since September 11, 2001. While there might be some innocents injured in war--like there usually are--this is not a nasty sneak attack against the Afghan people.

Seriously, the US and other forces have been spending about three weeks putting this together. Anyone/everyone knows that something was going to happen. The Afghan's who want out of the country have been leaving in droves.

While death by any form is horrible, the US and allied forces have been much more upfront about what they would do than the terrorists were on September 11, 2001 when they coldly attacked civilians.

This has been planned, and the Afghan government and people have been warned. Bases are being attacke and humanitarian relief is--supposedly--being provided to the Afghan people who have nothing to do with the Taliban and the insanity they are dishing out.

The US is not sneak attacking anyone.
posted by RoyalJack at 12:47 PM on October 7, 2001


Aaron: Iraq would be a nice place to start the count. Over 1/2 a million children killed directly as a result of sanctions. In 1996, Madeleine Albright, then the US secretary of state, was asked on national television what she felt about the fact that 500,000 Iraqi children had died as a result of US economic sanctions. She replied that it was "a very hard choice", but that, all things considered, "we think the price is worth it". Albright never lost her job for saying this. She continued to travel the world representing the views and aspirations of the US government. More pertinently, the sanctions against Iraq remain in place. Children continue to die.

The thousands of Afghan nationals killed by the Taleban probably have a bone to pick with the U.S. as it was America that set the Taliban up as a force in the first place.

Or hey, how about the hundereds of Palestenians killed by U.S. weapons that are provided as aid to Israel.

Then we can always discuss the bombing of a factory in Sudan, with cruise missiles. Destroying it. The U.S. had no pretext, no credible pretext whatsoever, as they later conceded. It turned out that that was the plant that produced about half the pharmaceutical supplies, about 90% of the anti-malarial drugs, a lot of the vaccines, and virtually all of the veterinary medicines, in the Sudan. Just think what the consequences of that are. This is a country that couldn’t replenish them, had no resources, under sanctions anyway. The only estimate i’ve seen in the mainstream press, on the anniversary (it’s just a guess), was that tens of thousands of people probably suffered and died as a result of that. And it’s not an unreasonable estimate. That’s would be like, in proportion to the population, as if one terrorist act in the United States led to the suffering and death of, from easily curable diseases, of hundreds of thousands of people. That would be considered pretty serious. Very serious, in fact. This was just ignored. As you say, Sudan did approach the United Nations, with the support of the Arab League. The U. S. Blocked any action there, and virtually no one else was interested enough even to look.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to murders commited all over the third world in the name of U.S. foreign policy. Don't act holier-than-thou please. If you make an educated response then I won't be forced to point out how wrong you are at an inopportune time like this. It places everyone who is interested in the Truth in a very very uncomfortable position.
posted by samishah at 12:47 PM on October 7, 2001


President Bush's address
PM Blair's address
Bin Laden's taped statement
Taliban statement
posted by Owen Boswarva at 12:49 PM on October 7, 2001


I am saying that killing a civilian is always wrong, always a travesty.

Yes Rebecca, I don't disagree with that. But sneak attacking areas where soley civilians were attacked--like the World Trade Center--is purely evil. It's cold blooded.

In contrast, the US has been warning the world since September 11, 2001 that a strike would happen. The Afghan people and the Taliban knew/know what was happening. Hundreds/thousands of people were and still are leaving the country. The attack on Afghanistan is warm blooded. A battle that everyone knew was coming.

A killer who kills in the heat of battle.... That's normal. Normal compared to a cold-blooded death where the murder has given the victim no warning whatsoever.
posted by RoyalJack at 12:53 PM on October 7, 2001


Over 1/2 a million children killed directly as a result of sanctions.

BZZZZT, bullshit alert! It has been proven that the humanitarian aid sent to Iraq was taken be Saddam and stored in warehouses, instead of being given to needy Iraqi citizens. It has been proven that Saddam has amassed a personal wealth of over $6 BILLION by siphoning off the government's and the citizens' money. The suffering of Iraqi citizens is due to Saddam Hussein, nobody else.

Rebecca, put whatever words into my mouth you want. I'll just end by paraphrasing Christopher Hitchens: It no longer matters what your side thinks. You can try to rationalize the terrorists' actions however you want; the civilized world is going to respond appropriately, regardless.
posted by aaron at 12:54 PM on October 7, 2001



POSSE IS AFOOT.
posted by newnameintown at 12:57 PM on October 7, 2001


And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to murders commited all over the third world in the name of U.S. foreign policy.

Samishah, this is bullshit. Foreign policiy is not murder. It's not cold blooded. It's not done inhumanely.

In contrast, killing thousands of people in one fell swoop in less than an hour is murder.

That said, I don't like US foreign policy either. We're not the "fathers" of the world, and we should let others mind their own business. But paralleling long-term policy to the cold-blooded murder of thousands of people on September 11, 2001 is bullshit.

You know what else is bullshit? This whole idea that we trained the Taliban so we created the problem. The US also trained Timothy McViegh and his militia friends. We also trained Lee Harvey Oswald. Big deal. We train people all the time. And we give them knowledge. But what someone does with that knowledge, that's their own fault.
posted by RoyalJack at 12:58 PM on October 7, 2001


The suffering of Iraqi citizens is due to Saddam Hussein, nobody else.

Yet, prewar conditions were much better for the Iraqi people. The blame isn't so cut and dry, though Iraq's problems are mostly Sadaam's work.
posted by skallas at 12:59 PM on October 7, 2001


Aaron - if we airdrop food to Afghans, why can't/couldn't we have done the same to Iraqis? Saying that Saddam Hussein stole it all is a weak excuse, isn't it?

And when people start saying that someone's views no longer matter, they're either wasting their breath, or worried that what they're saying isn't true.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:59 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack - there's a difference between educating someone and dumping a shitload of weapons in their sweaty palms.
posted by andrew cooke at 1:01 PM on October 7, 2001


samishah: Hmm. Ever watched a broadcast of a military parade, complete with a Jumbotron showing all the latest model equipment in close-up fashion, from Iraq? Looks like someone's wasting a lot of money that could be spent on millions of starving Iraqi children. But by your reasoning, it's all in our hands, not in his. Then, go back and read reports of conditions in Iraqi Kurdistan. The people there want *tougher* sanctions, according to most reports. You can still debate the sanctions, you can still argue that we should do what Saddam won't, but you can't print such a blanket condemnation of the U.S. there.
posted by raysmj at 1:01 PM on October 7, 2001


Then we can always discuss the bombing of a factory in Sudan, with cruise missiles.

By the way, I'll admit the whole Sudan thing was questionable at best. However, that act was committed by a previous Administration. The United States has a different government now; to use it as an excuse for an attack in 2001 is specious.

Or hey, how about the hundereds of Palestenians killed by U.S. weapons that are provided as aid to Israel.

The Taliban have lots of old Soviet weapons. Why aren't we, or Israel, bombing Russia?

The thousands of Afghan nationals killed by the Taleban probably have a bone to pick with the U.S. as it was America that set the Taliban up as a force in the first place.

False. It was Pakistan. And even if it was our fault, well then, in that case it is absolutely our moral obligation to get rid of the Taliban and restore a legitimate, peaceful government to Afghanistan. Which is what we just started doing a few hours ago. Do you have a problem with that?
posted by aaron at 1:01 PM on October 7, 2001



royaljack: I'm not arguing the rightness or wrongness of the US action in afghanistan (which is why I felt my side conversation is hijacking the thread). my comments were in regard to the terrorist actions from their own point of view vs the US (and most of the world's) point of view.

and the importance of the US behaving in a super-honorable manner from here on in, in order to not actively aid and abet the enemy by giving them fodder for recruitment.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:02 PM on October 7, 2001


And we give them knowledge. But what someone does with that knowledge, that's their own fault.

Oh don't forget the guns, but I suppose those are just tools. Its like me handing an angry drunken bastard a .45 in the middle of a bar fight and showing him where the safety is. Legally I'm an accomplice to whatever he does.

I don't think anyone is saying we deserved this as much as following the same habits of foreign policy will lead to same situations down the line. Everything I've seen about the Northern Alliance is pretty negative and that's something to consider. If you want to exaggerate this position, go for it, but you certainly aren't credible when you do.
posted by skallas at 1:03 PM on October 7, 2001


I am saying that killing a civilian is always wrong, always a travesty. it is morally relativistic to say that killing a civilian is wrong unless the killing happens in a war, or unless it is in retaliation, or unless it is unavoidable, or unless your side is "right".

While that sentiment is true, I do not think it follows that the most important principle of the U.S. after Sept. 11 should be to avoid civilian casualties at any cost.
posted by rcade at 1:06 PM on October 7, 2001


And even if it was our fault, well then, in that case it is absolutely our moral obligation to get rid of the Taliban and restore a legitimate, peaceful government to Afghanistan

Why isn't it also our moral obligation to help the people of Sudan? Because it was a different administration argument doesn't hold much water in this context either.
posted by skallas at 1:06 PM on October 7, 2001


The BBC is updating this page continuously with headlines.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:07 PM on October 7, 2001


Then we can always discuss the bombing of a factory in Sudan, with cruise missiles. Destroying it. The U.S. had no pretext, no credible pretext whatsoever, as they later conceded. It turned out that that was the plant that produced about half the pharmaceutical supplies, about 90% of the anti-malarial drugs, a lot of the vaccines, and virtually all of the veterinary medicines, in the Sudan.

Excluding the hate Clinton crowd's theories for that event, false intelligence/disinformation lead to that attack. It's silly/absurd to think the attack wasn't based on any information.

Just think what the consequences of that are.

Whatever they are, they are those of a government in Sudan which clearly supports terrorism. Said government was the proximate cause of that bombing, just as SHussein is the proximate cause of the death in Iraq.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:08 PM on October 7, 2001


rcade: I don't think there *is* a way to avoid civilian casualties in a battle. all that "smart bomb" stuff was just bullshit. we don't have the capabilities to prevent unnecessary, inessential, and tragic loss of life when we go to war.

but we can be as careful as can be about it. we can regard these losses as important and not dismiss them as "collateral damage". we can avoid them as much as is humanly possible, and not cavalierly ignore those losses when we're making our plans.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:10 PM on October 7, 2001


we can avoid them as much as is humanly possible, and not cavalierly ignore those losses when we're making our plans

Isn't that what we're doing now? Isn't that what we did in Iraq? Sometimes I wonder if we're all watching the same tv images.
posted by owillis at 1:13 PM on October 7, 2001


MSNBC: The Emmys have just been canceled.
posted by owillis at 1:14 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack: Why is any criticism of the U.S. these days automatically equated with justification for 9/11. I am not crazy. I lost friends in the WTC crash. I hate whoever did it as much as the next person.

Did I ever argue in favor of slamming a plane into a building full of innocent office workers? No. And I never will.

What I AM saying though is that people who hate America DON'T do it because you have freedom of speech or the freedom to be who you want to be. They don't hate America just because it's there. They have reasons. The U.S. has committed some incredibly atrocities over the past two three decades in the third world. To act like the fallout is not Americas fault is dangerous because it allows further such acts to be committed, causing more people to hate and resulting, sadly, in more people who believe destroying innocents is a justifiable extension of their hate.

The U.S. response to the Taliban is one I am in favor of. The Government has handled things more diplomatically than anyone had predicted and it is indeed very respect worthy. There will ofcourse be negative effects, but there always are. Regardless, the Bush government really has done things as well as can be done.

But don't let that give you a reason to turn a blind eye to when America does things the wrong way. Foreign policy has indeed been murderous in the past, it has resulted in deaths commited in cold-blood. That is a reality. For the first time America has been forced to see what words like "collatoral damage" and "unfortunate fatalities" look like in the rest of the world. Think about it this way. What NY Ground Zero looks like today is what alot of places in the rest of the world have been reduced to in the past. Places that didn't have the resources that NY has. Brave rescue workers, a budget that can handle (albeit barely so) the immense strain of relief efforts and recontruction. Despite access to such aid providers the death toll is devastating. Imagine how much worse it has been in other places.
posted by samishah at 1:15 PM on October 7, 2001


The United States has a different government now; to use it as an excuse for an attack in 2001 is specious.

That's pathetic straw-grasping. Cause and consequence doesn't stop around the world according to the demands of the US electoral system. As the havoc following the Rambo years of arming the mujahedin proved so well.

MSNBC: The Emmys have just been canceled.

The advertisers knew they had no chance of competing against War TV. Whatever. Those who wanted a nice fireworks display will be sitting in front of CNN with a case of Bud Light. I wonder if they'll get Dennis Miller to do colour commentary?
posted by holgate at 1:16 PM on October 7, 2001


Rebecca: I agree with you completely -- I wince any time I hear terms like "surgical strike." If the U.S. and U.K. have bombed airports and power plants, as the news seems to indicate, there are going to be civilian casualties.
posted by rcade at 1:16 PM on October 7, 2001


MSNBC: The Emmys have just been canceled.

doesn't that just crack you up? tonight's broadcst (in which they encouraged folks to appear in "business attire") was rescheduled due to the attacks. just their bad luck that we began bombing today.

is it time for the television entertainment industry just to admit that it's irrelevant? :)
posted by rebeccablood at 1:17 PM on October 7, 2001


Paris, the intelligence behind the sudan bombing was a soil sample near the factory containing chemicals that can be used to create chemical weapons. Second, there's a moral obligation to help the people of Sudan. Your comment on a few people in government supporting terrorism does not remove that responsibility. The Taliban certainly have helped terrorist actions on US soil (including embassies) yet we can make the simple distinction between the people in a state and its leaders.

If support of terrorism caused the bombing then what does letting tens of thousands die of malaria produce? Sounds like US terrorism to me.
posted by skallas at 1:19 PM on October 7, 2001


as those familiar with my posts may have gathered, state terrorism has killed far more people than any other form.
which country has funded the most brutal regimes since the second world war?
why?
this is an illegal 'war'.
all the evidence linking osama bin laden in the article linked is at best circumstantial.
the snow is coming soon in afganistan.
usr/bin/laden may not be in afganistan.
america needs to have done something by thanksgiving, for some reason.
america wants to make afganistan a place where usr/bin/laden is not welcome.
america put the taliban where they are today.
they wish to do the same with the northern league.
the northern league are 'a second taliban'.
humanitarian aid, of which there is a limited supply, may be depleted helping the afgani refugees to the extent that other humanitarian disasters could be exascerbated.
it is possible that the taliban would have been forced to declare the wherabouts of bin laden within days, at the international muslim parliament meeting scheduled for tuesday (sorry, no link).
the taliban are still offering to bring bin laden to a court in afganistan to be tried on any extant evidence.

in the eyes of the world the taliban (for whom i would usually have no time) come out looking better than the us, given these considerations. especially in the 'muslim world'.
it helps to promote the west vs. islam war that is supposed to be the desired outcome of the attacks.

more links to come.
posted by asok at 1:24 PM on October 7, 2001


[In deep, resonant, Carl voice: ]
"Fetch daddy's blue fright wig.
I must be handsome when I unleash my rage."
posted by dong_resin at 1:24 PM on October 7, 2001


Sounds like US terrorism to me.

What are you, skallas, some kinda pinko? The U.S. doesn't commit terrorism. We "rid the world of evil". Didn't you get the "God is on our side" press release?
posted by Optamystic at 1:25 PM on October 7, 2001


MSNBC has an interesting Flash module showing military movement.
posted by owillis at 1:26 PM on October 7, 2001


ParisParamus:

That's a very slippery slope you are headed towards.

Bombing a factory that provided life-saving medicine to thousands of people and then blocking any effort made to pay reparations for those peoples lives, for accepting that a mistake had been made and then maybe trying to create relief efforts that would improve the conditions caused by that mistake, all this is justifiable because the Sudanese government is bad?

Imposing sanctions that prevent everything from medicine, to food to even something as basic as pencils into Iraq, then increasing the duration of those sanctions simply because the mad dictator (let me repeat that: DICTATOR) won't back down, and as a result causing the death of close to a million civilians (deaths that Madeleine Albright accepted as being a direct result of the sanctions) is justifiable because of the actions of the dictator government?

The people in both countries are in no condition to overthrow their government. Believe me, I've been there. They are unable to come to terms with the reality of their own situation, it so so severe.

But please don't wave that argument around. It is the same argument that the terrorists used to justify killing so many innocents on 9/11. They felt that the American people were just as guilty as the government because it did nothing to bring the government to task about the various atrocities the terrorists felt had been committed.
posted by samishah at 1:27 PM on October 7, 2001


For those of you arguing anti-combat positions (and some of your accusations of US foreign policy are truthful), in light of the death of 6,000+ innocent people: What would you have us do now? This is what I cannot understand. It's easy (and sometimes valid) to criticize America's past actions, but what should we do now - October 7, 2001? We can't change the past.

I personally support today's action, and will also hold the Bush administration responsible for how they clean up the mess when its over.
posted by owillis at 1:32 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack - there's a difference between educating someone and dumping a shitload of weapons in their sweaty palms.

Andrew Cooke: That's a point too, but there's no doubt that they also are using abandoned weapons from the war Russia had with them. And if we never gave them one single bullet, I'm sure they would have smuggled in their own equipment.

Some guy at some store sold a disguntled Fed Ex worker a hammer and a speargun. But nobody told that worker to try to hijaak a Fed Ex plane and crash it into Fed Ex headquarters.
posted by RoyalJack at 1:32 PM on October 7, 2001


is anyone here arguing anti-combat positions? *I* haven't been. and I haven't read anyone else's arguments as that, but maybe I've been missing something.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:34 PM on October 7, 2001


rueters don't use the word terrorism/terrorist any more.
posted by asok at 1:35 PM on October 7, 2001


I am sick uncreative folks using the following phrases and words:

1. "aid and abet"
2. "jihad"
3. "evil-doers"

Thank you.
posted by canoeguide at 1:38 PM on October 7, 2001


well, as i heard on the radio earlier:
it is possible that the taliban would have been forced to declare the wherabouts of bin laden within days, at the international muslim parliament meeting scheduled for tuesday (sorry, no link).
so, waiting a further few days wouldn't have hurt.

treating the muslim world with respect might be a start.
not just paying lip-service.
posted by asok at 1:38 PM on October 7, 2001


my comments were in regard to the terrorist actions from their own point of view vs the US (and most of the world's) point of view.

Rebecca- You're moral neutrality is astounding. Yes, the "other side" might be seeing the US as the cause of their suffering through foreign policy, but that in no way jusifies the mass-murder of over 6,000 people in a span of less than one hour. There's nothing on earth that can justify that. And while the US might have blood on it's hands too, the US has never done something as harsh, cold-blooded and evil against another people.

We're not angels, but we don't use terror as a first--and only--method of gaining attention for a cause.

Can you genuinelly tell me--and everyone here--that you can see the logic of a mass murder of innocents to gain attention for supposed US foreign policy decisions?
posted by RoyalJack at 1:38 PM on October 7, 2001


in light of the death of 6,000+ innocent people: What would you have us do now?

Take measured, levelheaded steps to bring the remaining responsible parties to justice. That means a trial, with evidence presented, weighed, and deliberated upon. And punishment meted out to the guilty parties. The innocent parties, by extension, are then left to go about their lives. Revenge is not a valid excuse for military action by a civilized society.
posted by Optamystic at 1:39 PM on October 7, 2001


*sigh*
The direction of this discussion reminds me of the Ken Wilber description of a Green Meme:

“Meetings that are run on green principles tend to follow a similar course: everybody is allowed to express his or her feelings, which often takes hours; there is an almost interminable processing of opinions, often reaching no decision or course of action, since a specific course of action would likely exclude somebody. Thus there are often calls for an inclusionary, nonmarginalizing, compassionate embrace of all views, but exactly how to do this is rarely spelled out, since in reality not all views are of equal merit. The meeting is considered a success, not if a conclusion is reached, but if everybody has a chance to share their feelings. Since no view is supposed to be inherently better than another, no real course of action can be recommended other than sharing all views.”
posted by samishah at 1:39 PM on October 7, 2001


is anyone here arguing anti-combat positions?

rebecca: Well, that's how I read this - and other statements you've made in the past. So do you support today's action, or not?
posted by owillis at 1:40 PM on October 7, 2001


Sometimes I wonder if we're all watching the same tv images.

Yes, because of course the networks are a totally unbiased, neutral source of information. Not that anything else is, either, but do you honestly think that CNN went out of their way to show any of the "smart" bombs that missed their targets in Desert Storm? It was more propaganda than news coverage, from what I saw. Lots of carefully selected, video-game-esque images of bombs going down chimneys with surgical precision. You've gotta wonder about sample size when that's all you end up seeing.

I expect the situation to be even worse here, since we don't have a whole country to demonize, and thus have less leeway to inflict *ahem* collateral damage on civilians.
posted by jdunn_entropy at 1:41 PM on October 7, 2001


It no longer matters what your side thinks. You can try to rationalize the terrorists' actions however you want; the civilized world is going to respond appropriately, regardless.

Great quote, Aaron. I feel the same way.
posted by tomorama at 1:44 PM on October 7, 2001


Take measured, levelheaded steps to bring the remaining responsible parties to justice. That means a trial, with evidence presented, weighed, and deliberated upon

Optamystic, my friend, please take off your rose colored glasses and join the rest of us in the real world where there's a huge crater in the middle of New York City.
posted by owillis at 1:44 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack: Why is any criticism of the U.S. these days automatically equated with justification for 9/11. I am not crazy. I lost friends in the WTC crash. I hate whoever did it as much as the next person.

Samisah, because this thread and this topic is about the events of 9/11/2001. That's why.

Imagine how much worse it has been in other places.

I'm not dense enough to ignore what's happening in other contries, Samisah. But the US has NEVER murdered 6,000 innocents in cold-blood in less than an hour as an act of "attention getting". Other countries are fucked up? Liek Afghanistan? How is US foreign policy to blame for a country that went to civil war and virtually dstroyed itself after the war with the Russians? Or a country that uses foreign funded soccer stadiums as killing grounds?

US foreign policy might be bad, but foreign countries are not angels either. Sadam Hussein has taken money and resources straight from his people without our help. The Afghan people hate the Taliban but are too devasted to do anything. And the Balkans have been fucked for centuries.

What exactly is your point and how is a calculated strike weeks after warning upon warning wrong?
posted by RoyalJack at 1:45 PM on October 7, 2001


Can you genuinelly tell me--and everyone here--that you can see the logic of a mass murder of innocents to gain attention for supposed US foreign policy decisions?

no, not as an attention-getter (thought it certainly was that), but as retaliation for the actions of the US. as retaliation it makes the same sense to me as what we're doing in afghanistan right now.

maybe I misunderstand the terrorist's motives, but that's the only explanation for the events of 9.11 that makes sense to me. that doesn't equate to "moral neutrality" it equates to empathy, actually.

(and since I'm here, I guess I need to add the standard disclaimer that none of that means I support the actions of the terrorists, think that was a good thing to do, hate my government, etc, etc.)
posted by rebeccablood at 1:45 PM on October 7, 2001


Optamystic: (Keep in mind what is to follow is my personal opinion, albeit one educated by spending a great deal of time working at relief camps on the Pak-Afghan border) The problem is that the Taliban can't hand over Bin Laden even if it wanted to. Mullah Omer may be the leader of the Taliban officially but the man is a figurehead. A puppet leader. He has no control over the Taliban, not that he would want it since they are yet to do anything that would go against his disturbing and vile philosophies. Bin Laden comes and goes as he pleases, he has more wealth and power over the Taliban than any other major political figure in the organization. The Talibani people support him fanatically and if Mullah Omer were to decide to hand over Bin Laden he'd find himself dead before he could issue the order.

Given those circumnstances the current approach the U.S. has taken is the only truly workable one. It is worth noting that the Bush presidency went about this the right way, providing evidence to NATO and to the Pakistani government. It is legal and therefore enforceable. Bush and his advisors just showed a great deal more foresight than Clinton ever did in matters relating to foreign affairs.
posted by samishah at 1:49 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack Innocents? Innocents I suppose are civilians. Yes, we have killed six thousand innocents. Don't forget we did drop The bomb I'm not sure what "in cold blood" means, that your blood isn't hot, so you aren't angry? You might be saying that we haven't killed civilians without regretting it, or without thinking of the people we kill. I would argue that we do so often, and I'm sure that many would agree. Your rhetoric is frustrating, and it's hiding the points you are trying to make.
posted by goneill at 1:55 PM on October 7, 2001


owillis: rebecca: Well, that's how I read this - and other statements you've made in the past. So do you support today's action, or not?

I honestly don't know. I don't know enough about what we're doing. I don't have the facts that the government is using to make their plans, so I can't tell you if I think this is going to be an effective action or not. I don't have enough facts *period* to know what I think the 100% best response would be.

I view this action as inevitable, given the mood of the country and the ways in which those in power are trained to respond to things like this. I've been heartened by the aid drops. I think we need more of that kind of thinking and approach in all of our world affairs.

the only thing I've been arguing from day one is that as horrible as 9.11 was, we've done some things that are horrible and maybe equally horrible to others, and it's time we stopped that sort of thing. it was wrong before 9.11, and now we're going to have to face the fact that we may actually lose lives over some of our callous policies.

as I've said before, if we could look at everything we've ever done with pride, then it would be a matter of standing up for what we believe in; but that's not what this is. this is a matter of retaliation (whether you consider it to be legitimate retaliation or not is beside the point, practically speaking) and we need to be more accountable for the things we do that are perceived as war by many in the world, whether we've declared war on them or not.

now things have changed: the only way to keep ourselves safe is to walk our talk.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:56 PM on October 7, 2001


Stop the thread, I want to get off! Sheesh...you'd think that we were back in the "SUV good/SUV bad" days here...
posted by davidmsc at 1:59 PM on October 7, 2001


*sigh*
The direction of this discussion reminds me of the Ken Wilber description of a Green Meme:


Samishah, the direction of your political leeching of this topic reminds me of the annoying university Greens who enjoy taking the "topic du jour" and perverting it to suit their needs and solely their needs.

The issue at hand is extremist Muslims hate the US and the rest of the non extremist Muslim world. And they are now using terrorism as their first line of dialogue with the rest of the world.

You think that changing US foreign policy will change everything? Great! Go for it! I doubt that even after ever perceived wrong in US policy is removed, those who simnply hate the US for existing will stop hating us.

This is not a foreign policy issue. This is an issue of a bunch of terrorists just not liking us.

By your logic Samishah, changing the US government after Oklahoma City would be a solution to the US militia movement and followers of it like Timothy McVeigh.

This is not a foreign policy issue. It is not a religious issue. It is the issue that a group of people who hate us want to hurt us and others and we want to stop them.
posted by RoyalJack at 1:59 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack: I'll try this in basic english this time. Do try to keep up as it is getting tiresome reiterating the same point over and over again.

I. Am. Not. Pro. Terrorism. I would. Never. Think. Of. Justifying. 9/11.

Got that? Keeping up so far? Okay, here comes the doozy, take it slow please. The information might be too much to handle and I don't want you hemmoraging over the keyboard:

It. Is. Possible. To. Greive. The. Events. Of. 9/11. Without. Suddenly. Turning. A. Blind. Eye. To. History.

Still here? Haven't caused any internal damage yet have I?

I. Think. America's. Past. Is. Unjustifiable. I. Also. Think. What. Happened. On. 9/11. Is. Unjustifiable. I. Am. In. Favor. Of. America's. Current. Course. Of. Action. Just. Please. Lets. Not. Say. The. Past. Can. Be. Forgotten.

It's why the future nevers turns out as well.

Yes the rest of the world is immeasurably *'ed up. Accept that America had a role in getting it there. And a look-at-how-bad-they-are attitude shouldn't be used to divert attention from ones own flaws.
posted by samishah at 2:00 PM on October 7, 2001


the past makes an appearence:

But the US has NEVER murdered 6,000 innocents in cold-blood in less than an hour as an act of "attention getting".

us bombing of laos, previous illegal war.

'In this undeclared dirty war, the tonnage of bombs dropped by US bombers on the northern Lao provinces of Xieng Khuang, Sam Neua, the Phong Saly between 1964 and 1973 exceeded the entire tonnage dropped over Europe by all sides during WWII. It is estimated that US forces flew almost 600,000 sorties – the equivalent of one bombing run every eight minutes around the clock for nine years. '

killing between 9% and 22% of the population.

this gets my attention.
posted by asok at 2:03 PM on October 7, 2001


TV writer Aaron Barnhart looks at how the coverage of the war has been. Interesting stuff.
posted by owillis at 2:04 PM on October 7, 2001


What exactly is your point and how is a calculated strike weeks after warning upon warning wrong?

Following what rebecca just said, if you're going to talk about "calculated" strikes, then let's see what happened when the "equals" key got pressed. And since this thread is degenerating into straw-man arguments and personal attacks amid the media vacuum, I'm going to do just that. Welcome to the occupation.
posted by holgate at 2:05 PM on October 7, 2001


it was wrong before 9.11, and now we're going to have to face the fact that we may actually lose lives over some of our callous policies.

Rebecca, our policies did not lead to this. The hatred that the terrorists have towards us has lead to this.

What do you think lead the terrorists to throw battery acid in the faces of women who are "out of line" in Afghanistan? Or what lead to the denial of humanitarian aid to the Afghan people by the Taliban? Or what lead to the perverted appropriation of a soccer stadium in Afghanistan that is now a killing arena?

Did US policy lead to this? Does US policy have anything to do with someone hating us simply for who we are? In whose eyes were are "evil" simply because we don't believe in the same diety as they do?

The attack 9/11 has nothing to do with foreign policy. It has everything to do with pure hate an an arrogant evil that believes that such desperate and depraved acts are a means of dialoge.

PS: If any of the humanitarian aid that is air-lifted to Afghanistan now gets to anyone who needs it, I will be shocked. Most people have left and since the Taliban does control everything, who knows what is happening.
posted by RoyalJack at 2:05 PM on October 7, 2001


sorry, there's just not too much non-US "perspective" I care to bother with.

:::watches davidmsc's credibility go *poof*:::
posted by rushmc at 2:05 PM on October 7, 2001


And as for "leeching" the topic, I decided to point out to to aaron that the U.S. isn't as angelic as he was arguing it was. We both stated our points, end of problem. I didn't leech it for anything. I saw something I desagreed with and stated the cause of my disapproval. Didn't know that was looked down upon hereabouts.
posted by samishah at 2:07 PM on October 7, 2001


us bombing of laos, previous illegal war.
'In this undeclared dirty war, the tonnage of bombs dropped by US bombers on the northern Lao provinces of Xieng Khuang, Sam Neua, the Phong Saly between 1964 and 1973 exceeded the entire tonnage dropped over Europe by all sides during WWII. It is estimated that US forces flew almost 600,000 sorties – the equivalent of one bombing run every eight minutes around the clock for nine years. '
killing between 9% and 22% of the population.
this gets my attention.


asok: This is true. But the US has NEVER murdered 6,000 innocents in cold-blood in less than an hour as an act of "attention getting". This bombing was between 1964 and 1973. Which is much more than an hour. And Vietnam was a war. Big difference between the bombing of cities in a war zone over a 9 year period and the cold-blooded attack of a non-war-zone in less than an hour. BIG difference.
posted by RoyalJack at 2:09 PM on October 7, 2001


Rebecca, our policies did not lead to this. The hatred that the terrorists have towards us has lead to this.

and what led to their hatred?
posted by rebeccablood at 2:11 PM on October 7, 2001


us bombing of laos, previous illegal war.
'In this undeclared dirty war, the tonnage of bombs dropped by US bombers on the northern Lao provinces of Xieng Khuang, Sam Neua, the Phong Saly between 1964 and 1973 exceeded the entire tonnage dropped over Europe by all sides during WWII. It is estimated that US forces flew almost 600,000 sorties – the equivalent of one bombing run every eight minutes around the clock for nine years. '
killing between 9% and 22% of the population.
this gets my attention.


asok: This is true. But the US has NEVER murdered 6,000 innocents in cold-blood in less than an hour as an act of "attention getting". This bombing was between 1964 and 1973. Which is much more than an hour. And Vietnam was a war. Big difference between the bombing of cities in a war zone over a 9 year period and the cold-blooded attack of a non-war-zone in less than an hour. BIG difference.
posted by RoyalJack at 2:11 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack: Most people have left Many people who had the resources to leave have left, but many people in the ultra-oppressed country did not have the resources and are still in afghanistan, in need of food and medical supplies. We do not have a responsibility to fee everyone, as there are many starving people all over the world, but it does seem... odious to bomb the underfed. It also seems strange to feed people and then to bomb them...
posted by goneill at 2:12 PM on October 7, 2001


But the US has NEVER murdered 6,000 innocents in cold-blood in less than an hour as an act of "attention getting".

Exhibit A: Hiroshima
Ehxibit B: Nagasaki
posted by Optamystic at 2:14 PM on October 7, 2001


and what led to their hatred?

Rebecca, re-read what I said because the anwer is ther. They do not like us because we do not fit in their narrow view of extreme Muslim theology. That is the core of and the reason justifying their actions. And while Muslim philosophy is peaceful, extreme-Mulsim philosophy--like any extreme religious philosophy--is hateful of those that do not fit in.

Much in the same way Jews, Gypsies and Homsexuals did not fit in with the Nazi world-view during World War II.
posted by RoyalJack at 2:14 PM on October 7, 2001


Hey Optamystic: I brought up the bomb...
posted by goneill at 2:15 PM on October 7, 2001


whoa, so many posts, haven't seen this since.. oh..

Royaljack - I'd think that the 9%-22% of the populace bombed weren't all soldiers.. And imagine the civilians delight in not being killed in an instant, but suffering bombing raids for years before being blown to smithereens!! I know which I'd prefer! Besides, bin Laden declared war on america, so its a war zone, right?

They do not like us for many more reasons than that of us not fitting in with their narrow view of Islam - see bin Laden's manifesto for why.. Lets call them khariji terrorists from now on, a similar differing in language to Jews and Zionists..
posted by Mossy at 2:18 PM on October 7, 2001


Exhibit A: Hiroshima
Ehxibit B: Nagasaki


Thanks for pointing that out. We were at war with Japan and we had attacked their country and their holdings prior to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was no suprise that their mainland would be attacked by the US. We were very clearly at war with them. And they were at war with us.

And when we attacked Japan we did not hijaak two passenger jets, fill it with nuclear weapons and crash it into their cities. Big difference. Very big difference.

There's a big difference between an act of war and an act of terrorism.
posted by RoyalJack at 2:18 PM on October 7, 2001


look a newbie not 'anti-us', what a revelation!

seriously, royaljack, thanks for all the informative links, you have really helped me understand your point of view. and for pointing out the obvious regarding the length of time killing went on in laos vs. wtc.

might it be denial?
posted by asok at 2:19 PM on October 7, 2001


Whats the difference between war and terrorism? (spot the anti-war person) Both use fear as means to an end?
posted by Mossy at 2:24 PM on October 7, 2001


Royaljack - I'd think that the 9%-22% of the populace bombed weren't all soldiers.. And imagine the civilians delight in not being killed in an instant, but suffering bombing raids for years before being blown to smithereens!! I know which I'd prefer! Besides, bin Laden declared war on america, so its a war zone, right?

Yes it's a war zone. And is it good that it happened? No way. But there was a war going on. And as someone who's had relatives/friend lived in "peaceful" areas of Europe and Israel during war periods, you don't sit around saying "Well, they are only going after soldiers so I'll be safe!" If you want to live and there is a war going on, you get the hell out of the place. That's what a refugee is. It's not good and it's not happy, but that is just what happens during war. What would your solution be?

Also, this parallel is bullshit. Two pasenger planes--without warning--are hijaaked and crashed into civilian targets.

If you don't understand what the difference is, then how about the difference between someone telling you "I'm coming after you..." to being "cold-cocked" by someone with no warning/reason. BIG difference.
posted by RoyalJack at 2:25 PM on October 7, 2001


There's a big difference between an act of war and an act of terrorism.

Both killed thousands of non-combatants, and virtually no combatants. I don't see the difference, other than the U.S.'s technological advantage and resultant higher body count.
posted by Optamystic at 2:26 PM on October 7, 2001


"seriously, royaljack, thanks for all the informative links, you have really helped me understand your point of view. and for pointing out the obvious regarding the length of time killing went on in laos vs. wtc.

might it be denial?"

Denial? No way. We were at war in Vietnam. You might not agree with what it was about, but it was a war. And it was fucked.

The World Trade Center is a lame parallel for that and Laos. Unless you're implying that the bombing of Vietnam--in a war zone over 30-years ago--is what led to the World Trade Center...

Are you in denial about this? Are you sure you know what your paralleling? Because it sounds like you're saying the war in Vietnam led to this. And if that the case, congratulations! You have solved the puzzle!
posted by RoyalJack at 2:28 PM on October 7, 2001


Both killed thousands of non-combatants, and virtually no combatants. I don't see the difference, other than the U.S.'s technological advantage and resultant higher body count.

Vietnam = War Zone
Wall Street/NYC = Non-War Zone

The difference? In a war zone, I expect there to be death and blood. In a non-war zone, that's not the case.

So the bombing in Vietnam eventually led to the World Trade Center attacks? That's a theory nobody's heard yet. Thanks for the tip! It's funny, but you're making it sound like the WTC was a passive/agressive "eye-for-an-eye" retaliation to US actions during Vietnam. Nice theory.
posted by RoyalJack at 2:32 PM on October 7, 2001


There's a big difference between an act of war and an act of terrorism.

Not according to the media, and a large portion of our leaders. Hence all of this "America's New War®" hokum.

I don't care what you call it, if you target civilians indiscrimminately, it's indefensible, war or no. New York is nothing compared to what we did to civilian populations in Dresden and Tokyo(or Hiroshima/Nagasaki, which actually had lower casualties than the former two.) Just because it finally happened here doesn't make it unprecedented, or worse, really. Worse for us, yes, but worse morally... I tend to doubt it.

What I disliked the most about the Gulf War was our fear to incur American casualties. We were much more willing to bomb the hell out of them than go in there and make do the dirty work. And, while that's understandable to a point, I don't think it's really justifiable, either. If you enlist, you have an expectation of risk to your life that civilians should not. We should not kill civilians to protect soldiers from danger. If this is war, then we had better actually fight, instead of pushing buttons and dealing out indiscrimminate death from a distance.
posted by jdunn_entropy at 2:32 PM on October 7, 2001


They do not like us because we do not fit in their narrow view of extreme Muslim theology. That is the core of and the reason justifying their actions

I would argue that that is an overlay. now, I don't know, I can only use my best thinking and feeling, but this is what seems most likely to me:

US policies have created situations causing various folks to hate the US for bombing their villages and cities, or starving them, etc. whether or not you or I think these actions are justified, if you're the victim, and especially if all of the news you get tells you that the US did this out of hatred for you, you'd start to see the US as being a really evil entity--saddam-like in it's atrocity, perhaps. bin laden-like.

and you'd be scared of that evil entity, you'd never know what it would do next to you, or who among your loved ones it might kill. and you'd hear from your limited news sources about other things it had done, things to other muslim countries, and you'd start to feel that the US was trying to kill the muslims or the brown people, or the people who controlled the oil, or even just people at random.

and your hatred and your fear would fester in your impotence to do anything at all to protect yourself and your religion and your family. and when a man came by and told you about a place you could go to learn about how to strike back, it would be like an answer to your prayers. and when you got there and the people there told you it was a holy war, and that this was an expression of your religion, that would make sense to you, too.

that's what my best thinking and feeling tells me.

I'm not saying we're responsible for what the terrorists did; I'm saying that we are responsible for the things that we have done (and are doing).

(as an aside, the tv coverage source that owilis points to makes this interesting point: "CBS also has that terrific jihad expert who was on "60 Minutes" last week, dissecting a bin Laden interview. He's pointing out what I think will start sinking in during the coming days: That the U.S. is no longer universally perceived as the victim. Now it's the aggressor.")

if you never air out the bathroom when you take a shower, mildew will grow. you didn't *cause* the mildew to grow, and you can even kill it with bleach, but it's going to continue to grow there until that room gets aired out on a regular basis. that's all.

I think we've contributed to the environment of american hatred.
posted by rebeccablood at 2:33 PM on October 7, 2001


Bin Laden: "Bin Laden claimed the United States has carried out the ``biggest theft in history'' by buying oil from Persian Gulf countries at low prices. According to bin Laden, a barrel of oil today should cost $144. Based on that calculation, he said, the Americans have stolen $36 trillion from Muslims and they owe each member of the faith $30,000. "

"Our goal is to liberate the land of Islam from the infidels and establish the law of Allah."

While I don't doubt the Middle East has some large and legitimate gripes with America, Osama Bin Laden doesn't even seem to have the germ of a legitimate grievance with regard to 9.11.

As someone said, there are legitimate grievances with US domestic policy, but to reason with someone like Timothy McVeigh would be lunacy.
posted by owillis at 2:34 PM on October 7, 2001


owillis: the point is not to reason with bin laden, the point is to not create his converts *for* him.

and to hold ourselves accountable to the standards by which we claim to live. this actually has nothing to do with bin laden at all, we sould be doing this all the time, in every circumstance.

it's just that it has finally become a matter of survival that we do so.
posted by rebeccablood at 2:39 PM on October 7, 2001


US policies created situations causing various folks to hate the US. From just after WTC/DC..

So neither type of killing is right (war/terrorism), but it's excusable if you give warning? How polite.

My solution to this problem? Don't kill the civilians - hey, thats what it says in my religion, maybe it ain't all bad after all..
posted by Mossy at 2:39 PM on October 7, 2001


Asok-LAOS had (has) alot of poppy and commies back in the day. also KR used it as a base.laos was a familiy affair. one brother, a commie. the other pro-US. Air America operated out of laos for years. Laos is a terrible comparison for bombing. 1964, RIGHT-WINGERS SEIZE THE LAOATION GOVT. 1958-1963 Iraq- 3 coups.1949-1961 Syria- 8 coups. So...what do we do with that. How about the rise of ba'ath seperatists. Iran and fundementalism. Yemen reunification of the 90's. and on andonandon andon...strawdogs.
posted by newnameintown at 2:44 PM on October 7, 2001


I can't believe this thread has veered in this direction, but while I think I see Rebecca's point, I can't subscribe to it. Yes, at its most basic level, war is about one person killing another, one man with a gun pointing it at another and pulling the trigger. There are people who cannot bring themselves to do this: they are called conscientious objectors. I indicated CO status when I registered for Selective Service in 1980-mumble. There are plenty of wars I would not have fought in.

This isn't one of them.

I liked the phrase used by Mark Bowden, the journalist who wrote Black Hawk Down about the firefight in Somalia where 18 American soldiers were killed. In that microwar, which was partly incited and logistically supported by Osama bin Laden (he supplied the rocket-propelled grenade launchers that took out our choppers), the people with guns took every opportunity to blend in with the civilian population, blurring the lines between dangerous, deadly fighter and unarmed noncombatant. It's easy to say "don't shoot into a crowd" until somebody chooses to shoot at you from a crowd and the crowd refuses to get out of the way. A lot of soldiers found themselves doing the unimaginable that day. But if they had not been able to steel themselves for that kind of killing, killing for which they had received no training, they would not have survived.

At the most basic level a soldier will tell you he is not fighting for a cause, for a flag, for freedom, for specific war objectives. He will tell you he's fighting to keep his brother soldiers from getting killed.

That's how basic it got for the guys in Somalia. That's how basic it is for us. Bowden said We have a moral obligation to get rid of these guys [who attacked American civilians], and to go to war if that's necessary to do it.

Yes, at some level this is putting a rifle to your shoulder, looking the enemy in the eye, and shooting him. That may be qualm-inducing. But sometimes it's necessary.

In the end, whatever the claims against American foreign policy -- many of which claims I strongly agree with -- they are not moral justification for the direct murder of civilians as happened in New York, not even for the direct targeting of military people or political buildings. There can be every moral justification, on the other hand, for going to war against evil and cold-blooded men. The Taliban were given nearly a month to accede to international law -- ther has long been a UN resolution demanding that bin Laden be turned over -- and moral pressure from their closest (only) friends. By not doing so, they have proven themselves even worse, in that they would willingly put the people whom they claim to represent as a government at risk in order to protect a powerful man in their midst. This is even more morally contemptible.

Since clearly without action they will continue to harbor al-Qaeda and continue to oppress their people and continue to permit terrorist acts, the international community has a moral obligation to end their control of Afghanistan by any and all means necessary.

Remember: it is the Taliban who make the means necessary. They have had opportunities to remain in power and have rejected them. They must be removed. If it were not for this choice of the Taliban, we could deal directly with the terrorists themselves and not the broader group.

There is a silver lining in this ugly cloud. By removing the Taliban, by having the moral justification to do so, we have a golden, nay, a platinum opportunity to institute a just government for the people of Afghanistan. Not only will such an outcome be in the long-term interest of mitigating the circumstances that built an organization of radicals like al-Qaeda, it will be in the long-term interest of Afghanistan's neighbors (especially suffocating radical elements within Pakistan), as well as India and the Central Asian states for whom Afghanistan's chaos is a forbidding roadblock to development. Not only that, but such an outcome will be in the long-term interest of allowing the US to stand down in the region. Our foreign policy wonks had been participating in a low-key, low-expectation process of planning the "next" government of Afghanistan going back several years (it's called six plus two, or something like that). Our myopia had allowed us to consider that as toying with pieces on a Risk board instead of something vital. It may even be that we've learned our lesson on this point. We can only hope.

And by following that path, completing our moral obligation to give Afghanistan a just government, we will underscore the moral purpose of the conflict.
posted by dhartung at 2:45 PM on October 7, 2001


But the US has NEVER murdered 6,000 innocents in cold-blood in less than an hour as an act of "attention getting"

Really?

[...] Of these students, 6,097 of them were killed by the atomic bomb [...]

Others have mentioned the bomb already, but I guess since it happened so long ago, it doesn't factor in to US history anymore.

And by the way, that's just 6000 innocent students (or should I put quotes around "innocent" since we were at war?) who were trying to keep their homes from burning up. The total that page lists puts it a .25 million so far who were killed by the bomb. Of course for many of those the effects didn't happen in the space of an hour. It took years of pain and rot before they actually died.

Granted, the bomb may have saved US lives, but what was the purpose of dropping it on a city instead of an empty island if not an attempt at attention getting?
posted by willnot at 2:46 PM on October 7, 2001


I'm not saying we're responsible for what the terrorists did; I'm saying that we are responsible for the things that we have done (and are doing).

Rebecca: And how does this link to 9.11? And how does chaning any of this change the hatred the Taliban has of the US and other non-Muslim countries.

Rebecca, while I admire your need to understand the other-side of this argument, but do you know that Osama bin Landen's onw family completely disowned him years ago? And the main reason behind that was their non-acceptance of his extreme views and beliefs.

And if we're responsible for things that are wrong, what can we do in the US domestic to prevent another Timothy McVeigh of a Lee Harvey Oswald?

Rebecca, sometimes the crazy are crazy. Was Hitler evil because of his strict mother? Does this mean that anyone with a strict mother will automatically be Hitler.

There is no sane logic to what Osama bin Laden has done or will do. Especially when his main beef is that he's angry that western nations don't pay enought for oil, as another poster has pointed out.

One might be angry with a store that cheats them on a sale. But if I hijaak a car and crash it into the store with the specific purpose of destroying the store and it's customers, then that's crazy.
posted by RoyalJack at 2:46 PM on October 7, 2001


Granted, the bomb may have saved US lives, but what was the purpose of dropping it on a city instead of an empty island if not an attempt at attention getting?

Because the sad fact of war is that death gets more attention than a big flash of light.

And the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombs dropped during a war, at a country we were at war with.

The planes crashed into the World Trade Center were crashed in a non-war zone. Period.

Unless of course you look at the Osama Bin Laden's delcaration of war against anyone who is not an extreme-Muslim seriously. By that logic, this whole planet is a war zone.
posted by RoyalJack at 2:50 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack:

Yeah, I guess *all* those people in Hiroshima were guilty. Or, say, Dresden -- ever hear of that one?

And the U.S. has *never* done bad stuff.

Why don't you ponder the meaning of "Denial? No way." for a while.
posted by cps at 2:51 PM on October 7, 2001


Because the sad fact of war is that death gets more attention than a big flash of light

But you said America never killed 6000 people just for attention. Which is it?
posted by willnot at 2:56 PM on October 7, 2001


In the end, whatever the claims against American foreign policy -- many of which claims I strongly agree with -- they are not moral justification for the direct murder of civilians as happened in New York, not even for the direct targeting of military people or political buildings. There can be every moral justification, on the other hand, for going to war against evil and cold-blooded men. The Taliban were given nearly a month to accede to international law -- ther has long been a UN resolution demanding that bin Laden be turned over -- and moral pressure from their closest (only) friends. By not doing so, they have proven themselves even worse, in that they would willingly put the people whom they claim to represent as a government at risk in order to protect a powerful man in their midst. This is even more morally contemptible.

dhartung: Just wanted to whol-heartedly agree with this.

And by following that path, completing our moral obligation to give Afghanistan a just government, we will underscore the moral purpose of the conflict.

Regarding the importance of the Afghan people being freed from Talbin control, while it might be sad that innocents will die as a part of the US and allied nations actions, hundreds and thousands of Afghani's die every day at the hand of the Taliban. Either explicitlty through executions or simply from starvation and disease. They have been dying for years in that country thanks to bin Laden and the Taliban. And US foreign policy has nothing to do with what they have done to the Afghani people; the people they are supposedly protecting.

Getting angry at the US taking action in Afghanistan belies the fact that if something is not done soon, then hundreds/thousands of Afghani's will die due to the Taliban's domestic policy.
posted by RoyalJack at 2:58 PM on October 7, 2001


while I think I see Rebecca's point, I can't subscribe to it

I guess I'm not making myself very clear. really, dan, all I'm arguing is for a responsible US foreign policy. I'm arguing that in too many cases, it hasn't been that, and that we no longer have the luxury of arrogance and short-sightedness. honestly, that's all I've been trying to say.

that's one of the silver linings I'm hoping for from all of this. a just government in afghanistan would be wonderful as well, though I think our track record in this regard has been spotty at best.

There is no sane logic to what Osama bin Laden has done or will do

royaljack, you're seriously filtering my comments. I'm not talking about whether we should be attacking bin laden or afghanistan, I stated that clearly earlier in the thread. you're reading them in light of the argument that we should be at war, but I'm not addressing that issue at all.

my comments aren't about bin laden. he didn't crash those planes. he's never going to crash a plane into a building. this is about the people he recruits and trains to do that work. they won't go away even if he does.

my comments are in regard to what I think the terrorists' motivations were, and in regard to the attitude with which the US should now approach its foreign policy.

I think I've dominated this thread for long enough. if I haven't made my point, then maybe I'm not able to articulate it very clearly at this point. in any case, carry on.
posted by rebeccablood at 2:58 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack: You're either incapable of reading or giving a mighty good impression of somebody who is. You're putting words into people's mouths left and right.
posted by cps at 3:01 PM on October 7, 2001


royaljack,newnameintown; the us has never declared war on laos.

sounds nice though, and cheap, if a bit *hot*.

'Despite large-scale bombing and the use of defoliants in the eastern section of the country during the US war with Vietnam, Laos has one of the most pristine ecologies in South-East Asia. Vegetation consists primarily of varieties associated with monsoon forests such as teak, Asian rosewood and bamboo. About 50 per cent of the country is covered with primary forest and another 30 per cent with secondary growth. The forests are endangered by illegal logging and slash-and-burn agriculture.'

Money & Costs
Currency: the kip

Relative Costs:
Meals


Budget: US$0.50 -1
Mid-range: US$1-3
Top-end: US$3 and upwards

Lodging

Budget: US$2-8
Mid-range: US$8-25
Top-end: US$25 and upwards

Warning:

Laos has suddenly come over all bomb-happy and travellers are advised to avoid heavily-populated public places that might appeal to terrorists and tourists; the morning market in Ventiane for instance.

When shall we go then?

'The best time to visit is between November and February - during these months it rains least and isn't too hot. If you're heading up into the mountains, May and July can also be pleasant. Roads can be washed out during rainy season (July to October), but there's plenty of river travel. Peak tourist months are December to February and during August, although there are relatively few visitors at any time.'

Best book now, to avoid disapointment.
posted by asok at 3:02 PM on October 7, 2001


There is a huge difference between being killing a civilian during war, and killing a civilian through an act of terrorism. There's also a big difference between killing someone before lunch, and during the hours of 6-8 p.m. Killing a civilian wearing a hat, and one with an uncovered head has lately been the subject of much debate, but scholars have come to the conclussion that there is, in fact, a very big difference.
posted by Doug at 3:02 PM on October 7, 2001


But you said America never killed 6000 people just for attention. Which is it?

WillNot: Re-read what I wrote. The US has never murdered over 6,000 people in less than a one-hour period to get attention the way Bin Laden's people did. Maybe I should have qualfied it by saying "not during war", but there is a difference. A big difference. But we have never during a non-war situation hijaaked two planes and crashed them as a means of getting attention.

Boming Hiroshima and Nagasaki during a time of war with a country we are at war will have nothing to do with what happened at the WTC and the Pentagon on 9/11.

If you hate death in general, I'll let you in on a secret. So do I. But there's a big difference between death during war and death that cold-cocks you out of nowhere and strikes terror into innocent people.
posted by RoyalJack at 3:03 PM on October 7, 2001


I don't see any leaders from Japan coming on TV to say we had the WTC coming, not that it was a totally "we" thing anyway. (Lots of other people from other nations in the towers.) Don't think anyone from Hiroshima or Nagasaki was on the planes either. Didn't see pics of people cheering there after the towers fell down. Don't see anyone here saying that Japan's daughters need to be raped and killed and knives stuck in the vaginas of their dead bodies because of Nanking. No, there wasn't enough cruelty in WWII to go around, and the US started it all, thus it deserves to have planes crashed into towers in the heart of its largest city, in an international financial district. Bah.
posted by raysmj at 3:04 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack: You're either incapable of reading or giving a mighty good impression of somebody who is. You're putting words into people's mouths left and right.

Thanks!
posted by RoyalJack at 3:05 PM on October 7, 2001


I'm damn glad we're beginning the assault. We must kill these Islamofascists before their militant religion infects Islam globally.

Andrew Sullivan is right. This war is about defending our Constitution and the separation of church and state.

If equivocating liberals can't see this then this is yet another milestone in their downward plunge into narcissistic irrelevance.
posted by Real9 at 3:05 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack: "And US foreign policy has nothing to do with what they [the Taliban] have done to the Afghani people."

Now, please note what I'm going to say here carefully. We are *not* responsible for the Taliban's actions (nor anyone else's).

But to say that our foreign policy has *nothing to do with* what the Taliban has done to the people is pretty naive. Read up on some history here, dude.
posted by cps at 3:07 PM on October 7, 2001


I don't see any leaders from Japan coming on TV to say we had the WTC coming.

most people have learned to get on with life.
usually by coming to terms with their past.
posted by asok at 3:10 PM on October 7, 2001


"We're also fighting to defend that cute kitten that shows up on MeFi occasionally."

I WILL FIGHT TILL I DIE TO PROTECT KITTY.JPG!
posted by jcterminal at 3:12 PM on October 7, 2001


If you hate death in general, I'll let you in on a secret. So do I. But there's a big difference between death during war and death that cold-cocks you out of nowhere and strikes terror into innocent people.

Hahahahahah, who is this guy? You're damn entertaining.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 3:25 PM on October 7, 2001


RoyalJack: "The US has never murdered over 6,000 people in less than a one-hour period to get attention the way Bin Laden's people did. "

Getting overly specific aren't we? Jeezus, listen to yourself:

The U.S. has never killed 600 people by slamming an American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 into two tall office buildings that go by the name World Trade Center all simply by using a group of clean shaven arab men with box cutters who had taken flight training over the course of several years. Since the US doesn't fulfill these criteria it has never been responsible for the death of 6000 people.

Okay, along that line of though, Osama Bin Laden has never dropped two nuclear warheads on Japanese cities and killed .25 millions people, both civilian and casualties. Therefore Osama Bin Laden can't ever be called a murdered.

See how it all falls apart? How ridiculous it is?

Okay, here's something for you. You have asked everyone who disagrees with you this question: What exactly are you trying to say? Whenever we give answers you filter it enough until you only hear your own prejudices and biases echoing back at you. I promsie I won't do the same.

So tell me RoyalJack, articulate for me as clearly as possible, what exactly are you saying? What is your gripe here? What is the single earth-shattering point of Truth you have that we are all missing and therefore showing ourselves as the blind, america-hating, pro-terrorism liberal pinko whathaveyous that we apparently are.

Speak.
posted by samishah at 3:28 PM on October 7, 2001


asok. ??? whom said we invaded laos during the 60's. Laos should serve as an example of us bombing a country we are not at war with.(presidental powers and all) "The president can bomb whom he likes" From the movie-'Nixon" I pledge the united front for the holy war to save the kitty JPG. I will supply tanks, planes, litter and catnip. The alleged K-9 terrorists cannot bend the resolve of KittyKatistan:)
posted by newnameintown at 3:36 PM on October 7, 2001


to people that can't distinguish between terrorism and war, please read "Just and Unjust Wars" by Michael Waltzer, particularly the chapter on noncombantant immunity and military necessity. It outlines the definitions generally accepted by the international community. Violence does not automatically equal terrorism or war. Death of civilians does not automatically equal terrorism either.

The argument goes something like this: (i hopefully won't mangle it by paraphrasing it, but..)
Generally speaking, the second rule of war convention is that noncombatants cannot be attacked at any time. It is, however, a given that noncombatants will be endangered by being in the "proximity of battles that are being fought against someone else." It is therefore permissible to perform an act likely to kill noncombatants, provided that the following four conditions hold:
1) the act itself is a legitimate act of war (meaning that it is targeting combatants)
2) the direct effect is morally acceptable - the destruction of military supplies, for example, or the killing of enemy soldiers
3) the intention of the actor is good, meaning that he aims only for the acceptable effect, and the evil effect (killing of noncombatants) is neither one of ends or a means to his ends; and
4) the good effect is sufficiently good to compensate for the evil effect (Sidgwick's law of proportions.)

read the whole book for context. there are a number of specific situations that outline the difficulty in drawing absolute lines. (i.e., situations where hostile forces pile civilians on top of military targets in order to deter attacks.)
posted by lizs at 3:44 PM on October 7, 2001


1. "aid and abet"
2. "jihad"
3. "evil-doers"


Yes! More words that have been forever tarnished by The Media (or whatever it is...)

4. "harbor"
5. "reclusive"
6. "dimpled chad"
posted by adampsyche at 3:44 PM on October 7, 2001


7. "evildoer"
posted by holgate at 3:50 PM on October 7, 2001


adam: I, and I think I speak for most people here, never had much an opinion regarding dimpled chad before 2000. And we hope never, ever to be asked to hold an opinion on such again.
posted by raysmj at 3:50 PM on October 7, 2001


Samishah: Please calm down. You're really over the top in that last post.

I think RoyalJack is saying that there is a moral difference between (1) accepting that you will kill civilians while attacking military targets, but trying to achieve as few civilian casualities as possible and (2) intentionally targeting civilians to punish the government they or people like them elected. I would agree. (And as I preview my post, it looks like Lizs would too.)

There have been times in the history of the U.S. when Americans have killed civilians to punish others. Maybe Hiroshima or Laos, certainly the Native Americans. But unless there's a karmic argument here, I don't see how those past attacks are relevant.
posted by Yogurt at 3:56 PM on October 7, 2001


well, there goes the site. i wonder how long until the 'front page is being generated statically every five minutes...'
posted by quonsar at 3:56 PM on October 7, 2001


8. "Make no mistake"
posted by gazingus at 3:56 PM on October 7, 2001


DEBY has a dimple?
posted by newnameintown at 3:59 PM on October 7, 2001


Can someone tell me what a gravity bomb is? I saw in this story that we used gravity bombs...is that like the bomb that was used in the movie Outbreak?
posted by adampsyche at 4:03 PM on October 7, 2001


Gravity bombs are unguided bombs. You just drop them and let gravity take over. I believe the cluster bombs from the Gulf War were gravity bombs, although there may be guided cluster bombs too.
posted by Yogurt at 4:13 PM on October 7, 2001


A "gravity bomb" is a bomb which has no onboard guidance. When released from a plane it falls according to a standard trajectory and hits whatever it hits. Another name is "dumb bomb".
posted by Steven Den Beste at 4:14 PM on October 7, 2001


Oh. That makes sense. (duh on me). I thought it was something different.
posted by adampsyche at 4:23 PM on October 7, 2001


You know, I don't know if any of you 20/20 hindsight revisionist historians noticed during your bleating, but the atomic bombings in Japan kind of, you know, ENDED FREAKING WORLD WAR II. Seems like the good would outweigh the bad there. It stopped the war dead in its tracks. But, I guess EVERY war can always be ended with zero deaths, right? Puh-leaze.

The amount of blindness in the face of history and the amount of staggering ignorance of things past absolutely sickens me.
posted by Spirit_VW at 4:27 PM on October 7, 2001


Actually I am kind of hoping this war will result in the end of the Taliban, the assurance that the Northern Alliance won't be returned to power and the improvement of relations between the West and the Muslim world (not that there is some clear geographical distinction between the two, but you know what I mean...).

So far we have seen a more open minded and educated approach to Islam in the media and amongst a large number of people and America approaching the Afghanistan situation with an even and legally balanced attitude. It's alot better than most people predicted it would be.

So yeah, I actually do think something good can be salvaged from this disaster. Doesn't make it justifiable ofcourse, but what has happened has happened. Time to make sure it doesn't happen again by doing things the right way.
posted by samishah at 4:40 PM on October 7, 2001


Well, the US is also at war with Drugs. If the US military were to gain credible intelligence that showed a major gang leader/drug dealer was cooking up a whole mess of crack cocaine in some Compton housing project, I guess nobody who is pro war in Afghanistan would have any problems with the US lobbing a few cruise missiles into California.

Keep in mind, that although there may be some collateral damage, our missiles are highly targeted, and we will minimize the damage as much as possible. Also, those people know there are drug dealers in their neighborhood, they know that we are at war with drugs. They should really either overthrow the drug dealers and run them out of the neighborhood or move themselves.

Keep in mind that although the drug dealers aren't an official government, neither or the terrorists or the Taliban for that matter.

Besides, this is war. Innocent Americans are being killed by the drug dealers every day, and the rules of peace don’t apply in war.
posted by willnot at 4:52 PM on October 7, 2001


willnot: Want to make an actual argument, rather than post a note full of sarcasm?
posted by raysmj at 5:07 PM on October 7, 2001


"That means a trial, with evidence presented, weighed, and deliberated upon."

This is how you suggest we combat a decentralized guerilla army that uses suicide bombers as it's main weapon? Hmmm..... I don't think that's a very good idea, but maybe you have answers for these objections

1) During the year long trials for the few terrorists we're able to capture, how should we react to the continuing suicide attacks?

2) If we manage to have 1000 trials (a fraction of Bin Laden trained bombers), costing hundreds of millions of dollars, what do we do about the thousands of bombers still on the loose?

3) Since most of the people who participated in the WTC attack didn't break any laws, how would trials have prevented the 6000 deaths?

4) Last time I checked, the only suspects for the WTC attack are all dead. Who should we be putting on trial?

5) So you see the risk of jail time to be a deterrent to terrorism?

"do you honestly think that CNN went out of their way to show any of the "smart" bombs that missed their targets in Desert Storm?"

Ya, I remember seeing that on CNN. Several times.

"Got that? Keeping up so far? Still here? Haven't caused any internal damage yet have I?"

If you're going to be a smug, condescending jackass, then why not just shut up? You can argue your point without being a jerk. How do personal attacks strengthen your case? Do you feel better after posting things like that?

(note to self - careful about condemning smug, condescending jackasses)

"and what led to their hatred?"

Irrational or uninformed interpretation of events. Examples?

1) Half a million Iraqi babies killed by sanctions. Not true. Saddam can distribute the aid or not. His choice, not ours. While I'm not sure if I support the sanctions or not, I think there's a case to be made for not walking away from a dictator who gases his own civilians and continues to starve them to death. And the only thing we bomb there now are his anti-aircraft radars.

2) American troops pollute Saudi soil. Maybe, maybe not. But we're there at the invitation of the Saudi Government. They want us there. They haven't asked us to leave. We should pull out because someone who isn't even a Saudi citizen wants us to? Using that logic we should dismantle all military infrastructure everywhere in the world (including US soil).

3) The US supports Israel We sure do. But we also support a Palestinian homeland, we've condemned Israeli attacks, and we've facilitated and demanded peace talks. It would be a lot easier to perform the political suicide of pulling support if Palestinians weren't constantly blowing up civilians. To my mind, and those that I've talked to, both sides are bloody and disgusting. We should push peace night and day. And we do.

"If this is war, then we had better actually fight, instead of pushing buttons and dealing out indiscrimminate death from a distance."

Oh yes, we're acting immorally if we don't give our opponents a fair shot at killing our troops. It's not just winning that's important, it's winning while sustaining heavy casualties. If we win a battle without our own troops dying, we might as well crawl off in shame.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:23 PM on October 7, 2001


I'm being serious. I don't see the difference. Can you explain it to me?

Terrorists knowingly killed innocent people
Drug dealers knowingly killed innocent people

The US is at war with terrorism
The US is at war with drugs

Afghani civilians represent unfortunate, but acceptable collateral damage in the war on terror.

Why is the same not true for the citizens of California?

The US administration has already said we aren’t at war with the people of Afghanistan. In fact we’re going to try to give them food and other aid. So, other than the fact that they’re over there, and we can pretend those casualties didn’t/won't happen, what is the difference?
posted by willnot at 5:30 PM on October 7, 2001


"If the US military were to gain credible intelligence that showed a major gang leader/drug dealer was cooking up a whole mess of crack cocaine in some Compton housing project"

Well, for your analogy to work we'd have to give the residents a chance to turn over the drug dealer, tell them that a missile was on the way if they didn't, give them a month to get out of the area, and find 40 other governments that would back us.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:37 PM on October 7, 2001


the "war" part of the "war on drugs" is a *metaphor*, and most people understand it as such.
posted by lizs at 5:50 PM on October 7, 2001


willnot: your disingenuousness is cute. The drug dealer in Compton is not being protected by the government of California, a govenment taken over by religious extremists that has never held an election, instituted draconian oppression, and has been asked to turn over the drug dealer to the US but has refused, dithered, offered differing stories on where he might be and whether they knew, and glossed over the fact that the drug dealer had his daughter marry the insurgent governor's daughter. Then your analogy might be reasonably close.

In other words, the drug dealer in Compton we can arrest. We went to Colombia and helped arrest Pablo Escobar. We've arrested many other terrorists and war criminals. This one is being protected by a government, which fortunately for our purposes happens to be ugly, evil, and illegitimate in almost every possible way.
posted by dhartung at 5:50 PM on October 7, 2001


Terrorists knowingly killed innocent people
Drug dealers knowingly killed innocent people

The US is at war with terrorism
The US is at war with drugs

Afghani civilians represent unfortunate, but acceptable collateral damage in the war on terror.

Why is the same not true for the citizens of California?


The difference is motives and results, not actions. The terrorist is performing a political action which threatens the survival of our nation. The drug dealer is committing a crime for purposes of making money. Even if he succeeds and isn't caught, our nation isn't endangered. (Some of its citizens may be, but the nation itself is not.)

Our response is measured not by the act but by the severity of the consequences of the act. Since the consequences of drug dealing do not include imperiling the nation itself, we can deal with it in a controlled fashion which tolerates a certain chance of failure. Terrorism, on the other hand, is a threat to the survival of the nation itself; as such it merits as much of a response as is necessary to stamp it out; failure is not acceptable because failure might mean the death of the nation.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 6:50 PM on October 7, 2001


You Americans had better hope that the cruise missiles took out all of the office supply stores in Afghanistan.
posted by websavvy at 7:27 PM on October 7, 2001


the "war" part of the "war on drugs" is a *metaphor*, and most people understand it as such.

Apart from, say, the people of Colombia.
posted by holgate at 8:19 PM on October 7, 2001


Or the young, black american males that the war seems to target...
posted by websavvy at 8:29 PM on October 7, 2001


Don't just snipe from the edges, websavvy. Considering your past comment that Osama Bin Laden's past actions have been "rational and reasonable", I'd love to hear what you think about the U.S. response. Don't make me wait for Noah Chomsky's next article in The Nation.
posted by rcade at 9:15 PM on October 7, 2001


bin Laden: "the Americans have stolen $36 trillion from Muslims and they owe each member of the faith $30,000"

Moi: Then they should go to the Shieks, living in palaces and wiping their asses with hundred dollar bills.
-----------------------
"Exhibit A: Hiroshima
Ehxibit B: Nagasaki"

The U.S. also paid restitution, and went back to rebuild. When are those fuckers coming over to help remove tons of metal, rubble and body parts?
-----------------------

It's war, kiddies... civilians are going to die. It happens, no matter how careful NATO will try and avoid it.

The difference? Afghans had almost a month to haul ass and get away... don't tell me they don't know they're a mile or two away from a terrorist training camp.

The people in the WTC had no warning... even after the plane crash, they had a half hour to make it down the stairs. How fast can thousands of people go, through smoke, injured people, and a hundred-or-so flights of stairs?

Armies invade lands. They bomb. They kill people. You have collateral damage. I'm not buying the "guilt-trip" people like bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are throwing at the media. They're cold-blooded killers who would slaughter those people themselves, if they got in the way of what they wanted.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 9:37 PM on October 7, 2001


I really wish there was a good biography on Bin Laden. It'd be worthwhile to find out why and how he got involved in this. He has brothers getting PHd's from Harvard for crying out loud.

What turned him into the Osama Bin Laden we all know and hate, as opposed to a succesful Arab businessman with a degree in engineering.

The closest I've been able to find so far is "Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America" and that one is fairly bad shite.
posted by samishah at 9:42 PM on October 7, 2001


The difference? Afghans had almost a month to haul ass and get away... don't tell me they don't know they're a mile or two away from a terrorist training camp.

Interesting method of locating the enemy.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:43 PM on October 7, 2001


The difference? Afghans had almost a month to haul ass and get away... don't tell me they don't know they're a mile or two away from a terrorist training camp.

Interesting method of locating the enemy.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:43 PM on October 7, 2001


TV writer Aaron Barnhart looks at how the coverage of the war has been. Interesting stuff.

Funny, I don't remember him as being so blatantly politically one-sided in his writings before. It's just TV, after all.
posted by aaron at 10:40 PM on October 7, 2001



Apart from, say, the people of Colombia.

Maybe, debatable, but the South American nation had been at war long before the War on Drugs ever started, for something like 40 years -- and definitely would be at war regardless. Columbia has never had a stable government, drug war or no. The U.S. shouldn't even be there.
posted by raysmj at 10:44 PM on October 7, 2001


Oh yes, we're acting immorally if we don't give our opponents a fair shot at killing our troops. It's not just winning that's important, it's winning while sustaining heavy casualties. If we win a battle without our own troops dying, we might as well crawl off in shame.

No, you're twisting my words. We're only acting immorally if we're willing to cause heavy civilian casualties just to keep our troops out of the line of fire, which is exactly what we did in Iraq(And, well, it is kinda their job to go into the fray, after all. They made the choice to be in the military, and presumably knew what they were getting into, risk-wise. I would probably think differently in the case of conscription, because a lot of draftees are basically civilians who didn't choose to take on the dangerous profession that they find themselves in.)

I know people are just gonna say "hey, it's War, all bets are off," but there are morally better and worse ways to fight, even in war. Especially in a vaguely defined one like this, where the populace of the country being attacked is generally seen as being at least neutral, and often on our side.

As far as the CNN/bombs thing goes, all I remember ever seeing was one instance, where we really screwed up and caught a shelter or a hospital or somesuch, which was pretty damned hard to ignore, coverage-wise. Other than that, it was all smartbomb-down-the-chimney footage from what I recall. But, I was still pretty young then, so I could be wrong. I did hear something like 200,000 casualties occurred due to bombing though, and that can't have all been Iraqi troops.
posted by jdunn_entropy at 11:15 PM on October 7, 2001


We're only acting immorally if we're willing to cause heavy civilian casualties just to keep our troops out of the line of fire

I dunno... would you (or anyone here) say that, if it were your son/daughter/niece/nephew out there? God only knows what they're facing if they manage to get close to bin Laden and his associates.
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 11:50 PM on October 7, 2001


I dunno... would you (or anyone here) say that, if it were your son/daughter/niece/nephew out there? God only knows what they're facing if they manage to get close to bin Laden and his associates.

I'm not sure. Yes and no. I don't really think it's right in the big picture to value American lives over anyone else's(terrorists aside, of course,) especially when we're talking soldiers vs civilians. But, blood is thicker than ideology, when it comes to the people closest to me(then again, the people close to me aren't jumping up to join the Army, either, so I can afford to take this position a lot more easily than some. But still... nobody has been forced into the military we've got right now. So, if you get killed, you certainly could have prevented it by making different choices way back down the line. I hate to turn the stupid argument right back around, but well, that's war. Soldiers die in war, hopefully much moreso than civilians, if it's being fought right. I don't want anyone to die, but if someone has to, I'd rather it be the people who chose to put themselves in danger than the innocent bystanders, I guess.)

That said, I don't think it's really a fair comparison, in the end, because you're applying higher-level policy ideas(designed to achieve the greatest overall, as opposed to individual, good) to specific exceptions designed especially to arouse personal emotion and bias. Which is exactly what said policies are designed to protect against in the first place, if they're planned correctly.
posted by jdunn_entropy at 1:52 AM on October 8, 2001


take it to the ice!

'Using the world league option of NHL 2002, my plan was to beat an Arab-Muslim country so bad that they'd be humiliated forever. In preemptive open defiance of what I was sure would be protests from Muslim groups, I christened my plan Operation Infinite Goals.'
posted by asok at 5:28 AM on October 8, 2001


So, if you get killed, you certainly could have prevented it by making different choices way back down the line.

U.S. soldiers were sent into action yesterday on the orders of our representative government. Without enough enlistees to fight this war, the U.S. would have probably instituted a draft in response to the mass murder of 7,000 Americans.

Is it really a good idea to suggest that the lives of our enlisted soldiers are worth less than the civilians of Afghanistan, and if they don't like it, they shouldn't have enlisted? I can't imagine that would be good for recruitment.
posted by rcade at 6:16 AM on October 8, 2001


There's an somewhat instinctive response that also reflects something of what Bill Maher said. It's not so much that one side or the other is "cowardly" in battle, but that the wars that the US has preferred to fight since Vietnam have been wars that seem without heroes, without gallantry, without established patterns of bravery. This isn't to say that there's no bravery in service, but there's certainly not the makings of a Band of Brothers or a Dam Busters.

And as war has grown in scope and brutality over the last 150 years, it's been those narratives of gallantry and humanity that provide a sense of transcendence. The tales of the US Civil War; the trench diaries from the Somme; the tiny pockets of warmth at Dunkirk or D-Day. And I think it's that that people are missing when they talk of the "cowardice" of missile attacks and high-altitude bombing: simply that it's war that strips away at the potential for the gallantry that redeems war.
posted by holgate at 6:23 AM on October 8, 2001


Without enough enlistees to fight this war, the U.S. would have probably instituted a draft in response to the mass murder of 7,000 Americans.

7,000 Americans, rcade? Does that include the few thousand non-American victims as well? Or does it not suit your rhetorical flourish?
posted by holgate at 7:01 AM on October 8, 2001


Is it really a good idea to suggest that the lives of our enlisted soldiers are worth less than the civilians of Afghanistan, and if they don't like it, they shouldn't have enlisted? I can't imagine that would be good for recruitment.

It may not be appealing for recruitment, but the first rule of war convention is that soldiers (unlike civilians) may be attacked at anytime. This doesn't mean they're worth less than civilians of Afghanistan; only that they're in a different class, and by virtue of the class designation are not off limits. This is a key part of Just War theory and generally accepted in International Law. There are limits, of course, and soldiers are not obligated to save civilians; only to take reasonable care that civilians are not used as ends or means in eliminating noncombatant targets.
posted by lizs at 7:13 AM on October 8, 2001


7,000 Americans, rcade? Does that include the few thousand non-American victims as well? Or does it not suit your rhetorical flourish?

Damn. I was intentionally trying to mislead people with my flourish. And I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that meddling Brit.
posted by rcade at 8:03 AM on October 8, 2001


Rogers: If you're going to quote me, use the whole sentence. I said "Given his preconceptions about Saudi Arabia and the US, his actions have always been rational and reasonable." That doesn't mean he's not a loon. It just means that he's been consistently effective against those he thinks are his enemies.

I think you should know your enemy. If the US has managed to piss off a bunch of people so badly that they feel the need to kill thousands of innocent citizens, then the US should keep this in mind when undertaking further efforts that might create a new generation of martyrs.

Another thing to keep in mind. If I asked you a month ago what you could accomplish with plane tickets and box cutters, I don't think you would have replied "Bring down the World Trade Center". These people have shown McGuyveresque ingenuity in the past. In this conflict, it doesn't matter so much that they don't have cruise missiles or Predator remotely-piloted aircraft.

I worry that the US will end up in another Vietnam, where they end up sending kids to go fight against an enemy without uniforms, fighting on oppressive turf that is well-suited to their enemy, who just happens to believe that dying for ideology is a great thing.

I believe that the backers of the terrorists deserve justice. However, the USA hasn't always been just in the past, and at times their justice is sloppy and kills scores of civilians. Killing significant numbers of innocent civilians would give those wacky militant Islamic fundamentalists more to work with, and would just generally be a bad idea.
posted by websavvy at 8:28 AM on October 8, 2001


I linked to your comment, so anyone who wanted to see the context of the statement could read it in full.

Personally, though, I'm not sure it fares much better that way. What preconceptions does Bin Laden have that make the embassy bombings, Cole bombing, or Sept. 11 rational and/or reasonable? Applying those words to the guy strikes me as the same kind of talk that stokes on the "America had it coming" crowd.
posted by rcade at 9:05 AM on October 8, 2001


where does the 7,000 (people) killed figure come from? the last I saw on a news page, it was somewhere around 5,500. but on metafilter the number has been steadily growing. is there a more accurate figure than the one CNN has been giving?
posted by rebeccablood at 9:11 AM on October 8, 2001


Rebecca: This is the latest.

Monday October 8 5:52 AM ET
Toll of Dead, Missing in Attacks

By The Associated Press, NEW YORK: WASHINGTON: PENNSYLVANIA:

Dead and missing from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks:
World Trade Center: 4,979 missing; 393 confirmed dead
Those on hijacked planes:
American Flight 11: 92
United Flight 175: 65
Pentagon: 189 believed killed
Includes those on hijacked plane:
American Flight 77: 64
United Flight 93: 44 killed


So, 4979 + 393 + 189 + 44, or 5605.

It may be that the 157 people on the two planes aren't included in the NY totals, giving a total of 5762.

(The 7000 figure came from the brief period where NYC authorities were including all names referred by foreign embassies; once they were able to eliminate duplicates the total dropped back down.)

More than any of us can bear.
posted by dhartung at 10:22 AM on October 8, 2001


The number's been bouncing around for a while -- Tony Blair used "almost 7,000" in his speech yesterday. Looking it up, I see the most recent figure on the dead and missing in the New York Times appears to be 5,605.
posted by rcade at 10:34 AM on October 8, 2001


We won't be able to see the embassy/Cole bombings as reasonable or rational, because we don't have the same moral/religious/historical platform that Bin Laden has. I won't say he's right, because I don't believe he is.

Bin Laden has a long history of success in business and politics. From this, I'm guessing that he's not stupid when it comes to running companies, making deals and courting people in power. He has a series of complaints about the US and the regime that runs Saudi Arabia. Hell, I have complaints about the regime that runs Saudi Arabia. Instead of going out to the donut shop (or the Saudi/Afghan equivalent) and bitching to his buddies about the situation, he vowed to do something about it. And he has. If you pull morality out of the discussion for a short while, you end up with a man who believes that he's been wronged and wants to bring down the institutions that he believes are responsible.

His methods are... unsound. He's the little guy in the bar brawl and has to resort to some tactics that way outside the rules. But he has definitely been effective in getting his message out, and getting himself taken more seriously. So his mission has been a partial success. People are talking about his godforsaken dunghole of a nation, where six months ago, nobody cared. People are opening their minds, and trying to see what the world is like to its Islamic population.

I believe that Bin Laden and his cronies have been extraordinarily effective at finding leverage within American society and exploiting it to their ends. Since he believes that the US is his enemy, his actions (to him and his followers, and that's about it) are rational and reasonable. At least to his crowd, they are.
posted by websavvy at 10:36 AM on October 8, 2001


bin Laden's nation is Saudi Arabia.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 11:44 AM on October 8, 2001


I thought he wasn't very welcome in Saudi Arabia.
posted by websavvy at 12:22 PM on October 8, 2001


They don't want him, but that's still what he thinks of as "home". One of his excuses for attacking us was because of the presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia. In any case, the point is that he doesn't think of Afghanistan as "home".
posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:24 PM on October 8, 2001


half the suspected hijackers were Saudi too.. The Saudi government wouldn't want him or his group associated with them as they aren't too good for stability and would probably highlight the fact that Saudi Arabia isn't exactly the shining beacon of Islam in the world..

The Taleban share the same extremist Khariji (I think thats right) views, which are kinda like the Wahhabi take on Islam in Saudi Arabia, but more violent..
posted by Mossy at 3:10 PM on October 8, 2001


Perhaps he's just homesick, then. Don't know why but the idea of bin Laden thinking of anywhere as "home" put me off my supper. Like Bush saying "these folks". Some words are just too good for the bastard.
(cue the Beach Boys' "Sloop John B")
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:58 PM on October 8, 2001


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